One year ago, Comcast boasted that it was bucking the trend of cord-cutting when it added 32,000 new subscribers that quarter. Turns out that was just a temporary respite, though, as the cable giant lost 134,000 subscribers in Q3 2017. Although Comcast blames some of those losses on hurricanes along the Gulf Coast, the company admits that it still would have lost more than 100,000 subscribers even without Mother Nature’s involvement.
The situation wasn’t any better for other pay TV providers. Charter shed 104,000 subscribers last quarter, and AT&T lost a staggering 390,000 subscribers. (AT&T also blamed hurricanes and some credit policy changes for around half those losses.) Verizon lost a more modest 18,000 video customers last quarter, but even that’s a big swing from 36,000 additions one year ago.
While cable providers argue that they’ll be okay due to increased broadband internet subscriptions, the pain will be felt more acutely by TV networks that rely on cable distribution for carriage fees and ad revenue. We’ve long passed the point where they can argue that cord-cutting is just some ignorable fad.