Mar 12, 2016

US Pay TV subscribers down 385k in 2015

Following 150.000 subscribers lost in 2014, and 100.000 subscribers lost in 2013, according to research from Leichtmann Research. The annual study shows a clear and accelerating trend. The statistics count cable, satellite and telco TV as "subscribers" (most Europeans do it differently), so coming from 94 million "subscribers" overall, 385k does not seem much. But the trend accelerates, and my interpretation is that this is not good news for pay-TV as we know it in Europe. Clearly, OTT services with Netflix leading will, at some point in time, substitute our cable, telco or whatever subscription, and will offer the same or even better programming with the cost of internet connection plus OTT service, in most cases much less than cable TV plus packages with exclusive content. If OTT providers are cash-rich and bold enough to outbid traditional pay-TV on sports rights, the avalanche will start.