The reason: Too much of that advertising, which is something historically cable TV networks have scheduled more than broadcast networks. All that continues.
We are talking about the overall TV ad glut -- and so is Charlie Ergen, chairman of Dish Network: “If you are watching two hours of TikTok, you are not watching two hours of Discovery,” he said to analysts during the company’s recent earnings call. “The video business needs to innovate ... 15-16 minutes of [cable TV network] commercials needs to change.”
Cable TV networks have been losing anywhere from 4% to 8% of subscribers per year for a while now -- partly due to the high monthly cost, but also because of too many commercials.
In turn, pay TV providers are also suffering. Dish Network witnessed a combined drop to over 462,000 pay TV providers in its most recent first-quarter period -- about half each of those losses for the Dish Network satellite platform, with the other half dinging its virtual pay TV service, Sling.
This is not new. Advertising glut has long been an issue for TV networks, where advertising and promotion content can be as high as 18 minutes per hour on some networks.
Broadcast networks also have this issue -- but the glut typically is not dire -- although still not acceptable, according to advertisers and viewers.
So is there any relief? Now with massive streaming options, consumers are leaving in droves.
Previously, consumers made other choices under their control -- fast-forwarding through advertising on DVR machines or cloud-based DVR services.
But don't expect any of this live, linear TV ad glut to slow down on TV networks, all the while those same legacy TV networks groups also own top premium services with “limited-advertising” options.
But what can the likes of Dish Network and DirecTV do about it?
Maybe Dish’s Ergen has a plan.
Perhaps not to do business with those cable TV networks with high commercial loads? One might doubt it.
Still, the likes of Dish Network and DirecTV need to come up with something. DirecTV, for one, has adopted the new marketing brand in a word "stream" for its DirecTV Stream business.
In turn, Dish has been trying for many years with digital and virtual Sling TV.
The long-term answer to the question of what will keep pay TV video consumers from fleeing is easy: Fewer TV ads and lower monthly bills. Now what are businesses going to do about it?