Cord-cutting at cable and satellite companies showed no signs of letting up in the third quarter of 2017. Combined, the top companies in the pay-TV sector shed about 405,000 net subscribers over the three-month period, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group. That’s almost double the net losses of 250,000 during the period last year. The satellite companies–DirecTV and DishNetwork–were hit especially hard, losing 251,000 and 224,000, respectively. Comcast, the country’s largest cable operator, lost 126,000 pay-TV subscribers.
In their thrid-quarter earnings reports, many of the companies blamed the hurricanes that battered the Southeast, which certainly made things worse, but the industry’s long-term trend-lines show this most recent quarter was no fluke. Estimates from research firm MoffettNathanson showed record losses for the pay-TV sector in the first and second quarters of this year.
However, cable-like streaming services are looking more and more like a saving grace. According to Leichtman’s estimates, the top two over-the-top services–Sling TV and DirecTV Now–added 535,000 subscribers in the third quarter, compared to 200,000 during the same period last year. It’s a sign that more consumers are embracing internet-delivered TV. Still, even if the trend continues, these services with their skinny bundles and lower price points are not likely to solve all the industry’s woes.