Cable TV operators lose record number of subscribers in Q2

Cable and satellite television operators have in the past denied that there is a mass exodus of its customer base due to watching TV shows via streaming video outlets like Netflix and Hulu. However, a new report from Bloomberg is claiming that five of the top six cable and satellite TV outlets (Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications, Cablevision and Dish Network) lost a combined total of over 580,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2011. That's the biggest such decline the industry's history, according to the story. Only DirecTV added customers during the quarter.

In addition to losing customers to Netflix and Hulu, the story claims that part of the reason for the cable subscriber decline is competition from phone companies like Verizon (with its FiOS service) and AT&T (with its U-Verse service). Both offer TV packages in addition to phone and broadband access. The story says that Verizon and AT&T added a combined total of over 386,000 subscribers in the second quarter.

Yet another reason for the decline is strictly economic; a lot of people just don't have the money or the interest to pay for cable TV anymore. Craig Moffett, an analyst at Sanford C. Bernstein, says, "Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower-cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn't growing. For younger demographics, where in many cohorts unemployment is north of 30 percent, and especially for those with limited or no interest in sports, the pay-TV equation is almost inarguably getting less attractive."

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So, people can watch live programming on the internet for free?. I must be missing something, all I can find is pixelated garbage. I think I'll stick to my satellite thanks anyway.

Mike Frett said,
So, people can watch live programming on the internet for free?. I must be missing something, all I can find is pixelated garbage. I think I'll stick to my satellite thanks anyway.

I've seen so-called "HD" channels on cable and satellite providers--they all compress the stream so much, your "pixelated garbage" comment applies to them just as much, if not more.

What do you watch live that isn't OTA or steamed? CNBC? Everything else is streamable, or torrentable. There's hardly any live programming anymore, and for live news that being a day or two old would make obsolite, just try your local affiliate's website.

Good. I hope they feel the sting until they realize that people will move on when you rip them off long enough. There's no reason to spend $60+/mo for BASIC cable when you can watch all your favorite shows -- ad-free -- with Netflix, for $15/mo or so.

I dropped cable because it's too expensive for what I was using it for, which was essentially 1 or 2 TV shows and then football. Have now gone internet only at home and don't regret it one bit. Maybe once prices come down a bit I'll reconsider but for now I don't miss it at all. I have hundreds of DVDs of movies/TV shows to keep me entertained when needed, and I'll just spend Sundays at a friends house instead so I can still watch football when the season starts up.

It's piracy I tell you, it's piracy. I'm sorry isn't that always the blame? I got stopped by a cop the other night for speeding and I blamed piracy. It's contagious I tell you!!

I wonder why Bloomberg is crediting streaming for the loss of pay subscribers.

Last year I built a crappy 4-bay bowtie antenna out of coat hangers. Last month I built a nice Gray-Hoverman antenna out of copper. The picture quality is vastly superior to SD Comcast, and my friends say it's better than their HD Comcast. And I can record my shows without paying extortion rental fees for a DVR...I just use my HTPC.

I think there are a lot of people switching to OTA, and Bloomberg doesn't even touch on this possibility...

I killed cable almost two years ago. $160.00 a month after all the fees, taxes just for internet, basic digital cable plus showtime was too much for me.

Now I pay $48 a month for turbo internet + netflix + hulu plus. And, I get to watch what I want rather than 20 Greed freak...err...religious channels, infomercials, etc.

I'm on Internet only, i never watch TV anymore, used to watch House, but the season is over :-P, and for Paid TV, it's been looong time since i left Comcast, i cut my bill when lost my old job, since then, only have local TV and it's fine, if we wanna watch a movie just fired up netflix or redbox, sometimes a blu ray in the PS3.

I'm not going to get Paid TV anytime soon.

It's all the fault of the channel providers. They insist that their service be carried at certain tiers of service, and we have to pay for the channels whether we watch them or not. (It's the potential number of eyeballs to view the programs). What draws my ire is the Regional $ports Network$ and E$PN which charge a very high per-subscriber fee (around $3-$4) for their programming. Am I a sports fan? No. Do I watch the channels? No. Can I opt our of those channels? No.

Unfortunately, my roommate won't let me cancel the service and save the $100.

Z'Loth said,
It's all the fault of the channel providers. They insist that their service be carried at certain tiers of service, and we have to pay for the channels whether we watch them or not. (It's the potential number of eyeballs to view the programs). What draws my ire is the Regional $ports Network$ and E$PN which charge a very high per-subscriber fee (around $3-$4) for their programming. Am I a sports fan? No. Do I watch the channels? No. Can I opt our of those channels? No.

Unfortunately, my roommate won't let me cancel the service and save the $100.

Yup, ppl act like comcast or []

Z'Loth said,
It's all the fault of the channel providers. They insist that their service be carried at certain tiers of service, and we have to pay for the channels whether we watch them or not. (It's the potential number of eyeballs to view the programs). What draws my ire is the Regional $ports Network$ and E$PN which charge a very high per-subscriber fee (around $3-$4) for their programming. Am I a sports fan? No. Do I watch the channels? No. Can I opt our of those channels? No.

Unfortunately, my roommate won't let me cancel the service and save the $100.


Cable companies realized this would happen years ago. This is exactly why data aka "bandwidth caps" have been put in place.

I've "cut the cord" long ago. It was when I moved to a new place, i didn't bother getting TV service as the roomate already did. We shared the costs of TV/internet service and that was fine. Bit after that I moved to my own place and remembered I barely watched TV so just got internet, since then it's been just that.

Cablevision keeps calling me now with offers to sign up, not too bad I might add. $79/month tripple play for 2yrs. Once I boost up my internet speeds however it'll put me back in the $100 range vs the $45 i'm paying now

Payback is a b*th. They got greedy and look what has happened. There is a lot of power in the American dollar when you know how to use it. Netflix you are next.

The prices themselves aren't too high for the actual service. It's $10+ a month each for an HD cable box or DVRs that adds up. I have a multi room DVR and 3 other HD boxes at my house. The equipment alone is about $50 more a month than just the service price.

I pay over $250 a month for phone, internet and tv. Throw in a UFC PPV or two each month and I am usually paying over $320.
(I have FiOS btw)

StevoFC said,
The prices themselves aren't too high for the actual service. It's $10+ a month each for an HD cable box or DVRs that adds up. I have a multi room DVR and 3 other HD boxes at my house. The equipment alone is about $50 more a month than just the service price.

I pay over $250 a month for phone, internet and tv. Throw in a UFC PPV or two each month and I am usually paying over $320.
(I have FiOS btw)

Ha! You sound exactly like me! Bunch of HD DVR's, internet, movie channels, and I get the UFC PPV in HD every month at a staggering $55 per event. My monthly bill is nearly always around $300. I'm working out how I can cancel some of the services I have. If it weren't for the kids I wouldn't have cable TV at all. I only watch movies, Hulu, and UFC.

Good, I know that there is a lot more options on cable or sat TV for viewing, but these companies need to stop ripping off customers for what they offer. Lower your prices and maybe you will get some people back.

+Ichigo+ said,
Good, I know that there is a lot more options on cable or sat TV for viewing, but these companies need to stop ripping off customers for what they offer. Lower your prices and maybe you will get some people back.
Agreed. It's ridiculous how much their services cost. What kills me is that if you call to cancel they'll usually start cutting prices and doing whatever they can to keep you. Then I say to them, "Why didn't you do this in the first place? Then I wouldn't be calling to cancel!" Greed, greed, greed. That's all it is.

Im torn. Im glad cable companies are starting to feel the sting of losing customers, Im not sure I like ATT getting even more power over customers. If the XBOX gets regular HD programming from ESPN, other than the internet what do I need Comcast for? I have netflix and TPB for shows.