Digital Pay TV Slows Pay TV Defections

New virtual multichannel video program distributors continue to slow -- but not reverse -- declining U.S. pay TV subscribers, according to an analysis of Nielsen data.

Without this new business, Nielsen data for its January 2018 estimate for traditional pay TV services -- cable, satellite, and telco -- is at a 2.8% decline in subscribers from a year ago.

Pivotal says those  2.1 million vMVPD subscribers are up from the previous 1.8 million monthly estimate.

Taking out business from new digital services, Brian Wieser, senior research analyst for Pivotal, says: “Median cable network household penetration fell 3.3% year-over-year, part of a worsening trend likely impacted by rising availability of vMVPD services.”

He says some of the biggest cable TV network groups -- those with more than a dozen or so networks -- haven’t added back new vMVPD subscribers.

“NBCU, Viacom and Discovery have significantly lower median incremental network penetration — 900,000, 600,000 and 500,000, respectively — illustrating the impact of skinny bundling.”



In August 2017, Nielsen said there was 119.6 million U.S. TV homes for the 2017-2018 TV season, with the 96.5% percentage of total U.S. homes with TVs receiving traditional TV signals via broadcast, cable, satellite telco or a broadband Internet provider connected to a TV set currently.

Other industry estimates: There are 98.7 million traditional pay TV subscribers in 2017.

1 comment about "Digital Pay TV Slows Pay TV Defections".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 3, 2018 at 1:13 p.m.

    Wayne, if you add in the 14-15% of U.S. TV homes that get only over-the-air TV to those who use "pay TV"---via cable, satellite or telco subscriptions--- that means that approximately 95% of U.S. TV homes can be reached by commercials aired by advertisers. Four years ago, the corresponding percentage---per Nielsen---was 98%, the difference, in both cases being broadband-only homes. Why is there so little discussion about satellite subs---which have held up well according to Nielsen over the past four years---and over-the-air reception, which has risen significantly? A lot of people who don't take the time to think things out may be mislead by the focus on cable system problems. Their subscriber losses ---which are not as gigantic as some think---do not signify a massive consumer abandonment of "linear TV", with billions of "eye balls" moving to digital video. Often, cable's losses are ofset by other ways to watch commercial TV.

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