As streaming continues to grow, cable TV has once again seen a major drop in customers. The latest numbers from analyst firm MoffettNathanson shows that for the second quarter of 2020, pay TV providers lost a total of 1.55 million customers.
“As more and more people leave the traditional ecosystem for direct-to-consumer [DTC] substitutes, programmers are increasingly moving their best content to their DTC platforms,” Craig Moffett, analyst with MoffettNathanson, wrote in his Cord-Cutting Monitor report. “Media companies have no choice but to target this huge market with DTC SVOD and AVOD options.”
To address customers moving from cable to streaming, media companies are entering the streaming world through both launching their own services, like WarnerMedia’s launch of HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s launch of Peacock, or acquiring streaming services to add to their portfolio, like the Fox acquisition of the free streaming service Tubi.
In quarter 2 earnings calls, we learned that Verizon lost 81,000 video customers, Dish was down 40,000 cable customers (along with a drop in Sling TV customers), AT&T dropped 886,000 premium TV customers, and Comcast lost 477,000 TV customers. (The MoffettNathanson report looked at additional cable providers along with those reported on by CCN.)
There was one bright spot for cable. Charter Spectrum added 102,000 video customers for the quarter.
“Our ability to grow our services this year for new and existing customers, is a testament to our operating strategy, the quality of our products and our significant investment in systems and people over the last several years,” said Tom Rutledge, CEO and Chairman of Charter Communications, Inc.
While Spectrum grew its pay TV subscriber base in part by assisting customers who were struggling during the pandemic, others specifically pointed to coronavirus as a major factor in the loss of subscribers for the quarter.
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Jess Barnes attended Edinboro University and spent years working in nonprofit before taking up freelance writing in 2012. Jess has been working for Cord Cutters News since 2017.