1.8 million American households exit cable, satellite TV

1.8 million U.S. households exit cable, satellite TV

No fewer than 1.8 million households in the United States, U.S, have exited cable and satellite-TV subscriptions during the first quarter of 2020, Q1’20, Variety reports.

Cable and satellite-TV companies are experiencing a steady decline of paying customers, following the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping through the country during the winter months.

More alarming for cable companies is that the second quarter – with most of the country in lockdown mode – could cause even more haemorrhaging, analysts predict.

The combination of high monthly costs and the disappearance of live sports as unemployment rates soar to a staggering 15 per cent level have caused the steep cancellation rate, according to Wall Street research firm MoffettNathanson.

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“At 63 per cent of occupied households, traditional pay-TV penetration has reached a level not previously seen since roughly 1995.

“There are now as many nonsubscribing households as there were pay-TV subscribers in 1988,” explained analyst Craig Moffett.

As people dump subscriptions, the growth of cable networks’ affiliate fees is also taking a sharp hit, said UBS Securities analyst John Hodulik.

“We believe the (coronavirus) outbreak could drive a modest acceleration in cord-cutting in the lockdown phase but more dramatic declines post-lockdown given the expected recession,” reasoned Hodulik. “The absence of sports should pressure sports nets in the near term as distributors baulk at paying high fees.”

The only notable subscription-TV services to add subscribers in the first quarter of 2020 were Hulu + Live TV, which signed up about 100,000 new people, and Google’s YouTube, which increased users by approximately 300,000 to reach 2.3 million, Moffett estimates.

Disney+ continues its robust spree, having signed up an astounding 54.5 million customers worldwide as of this week, less than six months after launching the service, reported CNBC earlier


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