MVPDs facing subscription erosion


Over 100M US households get their television from a cable company, a satellite company or a telco. But the trend is not toward the acquisition of more companies – it appears to be headed in the other direction, with viewers using other options – such as simple, free over-the-air broadcasting to acquire their programming.

The study, from Convergence Consulting Group as reported by TechCrunch and Yahoo News, finds that 800K households have stopped paying monthly subscription fees to MVPD platforms. What’s more, that number could double to 1.6M by the end of 2011.

Yahoo points out that 800K is less than 1% of total MVPD subscribers, but notes that a trend in the wrong direction still is not a good thing.

Many of those fleeing a monthly subscription fee are relying on a good old-fashioned antenna to pick up broadcast television signals, and supplementing that with subscription services like Netflix and downloadable programming.

Yahoo’s Ben Patterson added a personal note, wondering why he should pay triple-digits every month for hundreds of channels he never watches when he can go online and get precisely what he wants.

RBR-TVBR observation: As broadcasters continue to add multicast and mobile options for viewers, the importance of OTA television will only increase, something the FCC needs to keep in mind as it goes on its scavenger hunt for broadband spectrum.