Pay-TV Subscribers Abandoning Ship


TelevisionFinancial news site Bloomberg is predicting that the pay-TV industry will show a loss of between 280,000 and 360,000 for the third quarter. This is “good bad” news when you consider that the second quarter saw a loss of 600,000 subscribers.

While mergers accounted for some of Q2’s big number, experts believe that we are seeing a trend. This year’s estimate of losses is nearly 70% higher on a year-on-year basis, at the midpoint of estimates.

Pending mergers stand to potentially take a hit, while high-cost channels like ESPN are definitely in the crosshairs. A Nielsen report found that the Walt Disney Company, which owns ESPN, has lost about 7.2% of its subscriber base over the past four years, going from roughly 100 million subscribers to its current total of 92.9 million at the time of report.

The biggest risk for these companies is accelerating subscriber losses — Bloomberg’s compiled data suggests that last quarter wasn’t an inflection point, but 70% greater subscriber losses on a year-on-year basis isn’t too encouraging, either.