US cable TV subscriptions fell to their lowest level since 1992

from the cord is finally cut department

Despite years of cable industry executives insisting that cord-cutting (abandoning traditional cable TV) was either a gimmick or a gimmick, it ended up being… not true. The executive claims that cord-cutting was finally slowing down and would it stop soon? Also, surprisingly, not true.

When I wrote about the cord-cutting trend, I got cable and broadcast PR people who were genuinely annoyed that I was pointing out an obvious trend. Needless to say, most of those people aren’t very vocal anymore.

Variety reports that U.S. cable, satellite and Internet TV providers saw the largest decline in their customers’ payments in the first quarter of 2023 in television history. In total, they lost 2.3 million subscribers in just one quarter. either for streaming alternatives, old-fashioned antennas, or services like TikTok or YouTube. In general, since 1992, there have not been so few pay TV subscribers.

With the 1Q drop, overall pay-TV penetration in occupied US households (including Internet services such as YouTube TV and Hulu) fell to 58.5%, the lowest point since 1992, two years before DirecTV comes out as a new cable TV competitor. According to Moffett’s calculations. As of the end of the first quarter, US pay-TV services had 75.5 million subscribers, down nearly 7% year over year.

And again, Wall Street analysts who follow the industry for a living say there’s really no evidence this trend is slowing down anytime soon;

“The picture is not one that suggests a plateau in the rate of decline is imminent,” Moffett wrote.

Those same analysts say we are now entering a “period of doom” for traditional pay-TV services. Is it bad? It sounds bad.

Of course, as the traditional cable TV industry dies, the streaming industry that replaced it is going through its own growing pains. Many of these directly reflect the same problems inherent in the cable segment they fail. Driven by mindless consolidation and endless price hikes driven by Wall Street’s quarterly demand for any price, many streaming giants are making some similar mistakes as they try to scale, satisfy investors and maintain customer loyalty all at the same time.

Streaming seems destined to become the industry it disrupted, as the same underlying mechanisms are still at work. However, with lower costs, improved package flexibility, better customer service, increased competition, and the ability to cancel service without getting a migraine, the overall shift from traditional cable to streaming is still a net improvement for end users from the Comcast-dominated network. of the old days.

Filed Under: cable tv, cord cutting, cycle of destruction, streaming

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