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Cable and satellite TV companies need a miracle to save them from cord-cutting

Cable and satellite TV companies need a miracle to save them from cord-cutting
[Photo: rawpixel/Unsplash]

Cable and satellite TV services had another lousy quarter as cord-cutting continues. BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield notes that AT&T, Charter, Comcast, Dish, and Verizon lost a combined 1.1 million subscribers year-over-year in Q4 2018. Those same companies lost another million subscribers in the quarter prior.

As usual, satellite providers got hit the hardest by far, with Dish Network shedding 334,000 subscribers and AT&T losing 658,000 subscribers year-over-year. Those numbers do factor in live TV streaming, with Dish’s Sling TV gaining just 47,000 subscribers and AT&T’s DirecTV Now losing 267,000 subscribers. While both services were early to live TV streaming, they now face much tougher competition from the likes of YouTube TV and Hulu with Live TV.

Just as notable, though, is the sustained decline for cable TV. Companies like Comcast and Charter have a better chance at keeping TV subscribers around by bundling internet service–and they’re profiting nicely from a rise in internet customers–but even they won’t be immune from the cord-cutting trend as customers realize they’ve got plenty of cheaper (or even free) streaming options.

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