Cable Operators Continue To Lose Video Subscribers

Man-watching-TV-Shutterstock-AU.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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6 comments about "Cable Operators Continue To Lose Video Subscribers".
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  1. William Hughes from Arnold Aerospace, December 11, 2012 at 8:54 a.m.

    It couldn't be because of the High Prices, Shoddy programming, and the INSANE amounts of Advertising, could it?

  2. Ken Freedman from KWQC, December 11, 2012 at 9:52 a.m.

    I'm sure it has nothing to do with customer servie

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, December 11, 2012 at 10:52 a.m.

    One of the largest reasons for inflation and decrease in disposable income to pay bills including education, retirement savings, emergency savings, insurance....$1200 - 2400 annually when a gross income is $50,000 is outrageous. Want to know why the roll back of safety hatches have occurred ? Add in the absurd amount spent - another $1200 - 2500 annually - on mobile talking and texting about nothing. "More matter; less art." We are blabbering ourselves into the poorhouse.

  4. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc., December 11, 2012 at 5:13 p.m.

    The link and text of article I wrote in 1999 CED Magazine when Cable was blowing off Internet & Satellite as weak competitors - Satellite now has 30 % of the market while cable has had better technology, and now Netflix, mainly streaming video, has over 27 million domestic subs (more than Comcast) similar to how cable is losing and still think they are winning - Also written prior to Google & while Amazon was very new, there were ways cable could have provided a better revenue model and made subscribers stickier. The Netflix deal with Disney is a big crack in the cable dam.
    excerpts from 1999, back to future --"At risks: substantial advertising dollars, e-commerce sales and commissions, and subscription fee revenues. Couldn’t happen? Systems who focused on subscriber retention, without a concern for total subscriber revenues, are losing another quiet war with DirecTV. Systems sometimes keep their low-end basic cable tier business but lose their premium channel (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax) and pay-per-view revenue due to the DBS content selection and digital picture and sound. Potentially 50% of the systems revenue could be lost even with 100% subscriber retention. Customer preferences were underestimated and poorly measured and monitored. Because of inadequate subscriber preference data and a resulting slow response to digital technology, much revenue was lost and immeasurable damage was done to subscriber relations".
    "Can you imagine having the ability to enter a personal preference profile into an application so that the TV not only directs you to your preferred program, but also gives you pertinent advertising information on products and services of interest much like"
    "The revenue gold mine could come from the ability to substantially reduce the costs of direct marketing via mail and telemarketing by providing, for a price, the one-to-one retailing data gathered by knowing the buying habits and preferences of customers. This is another byproduct of transitioning to the digital era."

  5. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, December 11, 2012 at 5:35 p.m.

    Here is a really creepy thought. And based on Amazon's recommendations for me, a complete lost cause. "Can you imagine having the ability to enter a personal preference profile into an application so that the TV not only directs you to your preferred program, but also gives you pertinent advertising information on products and services of interest much like"

  6. Herb Lair from CUO,Inc., December 12, 2012 at 7:39 a.m.

    Again that was written in 1999 prior to Google , Linkedin, facebook, & Twitter - people are giving up much more personal interests & preferences now, even your location - the use of social media appears free, but they are getting much more than just past demographics, worth a lot to target marketers . My thoughts are cable TV should be charging a lot less for content and providing more customer service as well - they just keep raising rates with impunity and still get more ad money.

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