U.S. cable operators in 2012 have
continued to lose video subscribers at around the same rate as a year ago. But the future could prove more problematic.
For 2012 U.S. cable subscribers are on pace to lose 3% of their subscribers to 56 million, down from 58 million in 2011. This compares to a 2.8% loss in 2011 from 2010, per IHS Screen Digest Television Intelligence Report.
The reasons? A rise in over-the-top (OTT) digital video services, siphoning of business to telco TV/video operators, a still-weak economy. Plus, cable operators' year-long consumer promotions are set to expire at the end of the fourth quarter of 2012.
There is somewhat of a silver lining: U.S. cable operators lost a net total of 460,000 video subscribers in the third quarter of 2012, compared to a loss of 512,000 in the third quarter of 2011. All this was much lower than the major reduction of 739,000 during the third quarter of 2010.
IHS also says the recent third-quarter 2012 numbers were better than the 599,000 drop in the second quarter of 2012.
This follows a now longtime trend among U.S. cable operators -- the ninth consecutive year of decline in cable video subscribers, going back to 2004. But at the same time, cable operators have also seen a trend of rising business from voice and data revenues. For example, cable operators in the third quarter of 2012 gained 983,000 data subscribers and 276,000 voice customers.
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