U.S. Pay-TV Industry Suffers Its First Net Loss of Subscribers

Cable Tries Apple Retail Approach To Win Customers
Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images A customer at the Cox Solutions Store in Lake Forest, CA looks over some equipment in the bundled services department.

It's a small but highly significant shortfall, reflecting mounting competition from digital sources

Ars Technica reports that the top U.S. cable providers, comprising 94% of the market, have recorded their first industry-wide loss of pay-TV subscribers.

According to a study by Leichtman Research Group, the cable titans suffered a net loss of 105,000 customers. It amounts to just a fraction of a percent of the total customer base, but is a watershed moment, reflecting competition from the likes of Netflix, the popularity of streaming onto such devices as iPads, and underscoring fears for the industry’s long term future in the face of Internet-based television.

“Annual net multi-channel video additions in 2013 were about 280,000 fewer than in 2012, when the industry added about 175,000 subscribers,” said Leichtman in a statement.

Market share is also declining. Principla analyst Bruce Leichtman said cable providers now had “a 52% share of the top multi-channel video subscribers in the U.S., compared to a 58% share three years ago.”

[Ars Technica]

Tap to read full story

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com


Dear TIME Reader,

As a regular visitor to TIME.com, we are sure you enjoy all the great journalism created by our editors and reporters. Great journalism has great value, and it costs money to make it. One of the main ways we cover our costs is through advertising.

The use of software that blocks ads limits our ability to provide you with the journalism you enjoy. Consider turning your Ad Blocker off so that we can continue to provide the world class journalism you have become accustomed to.

The TIME Team