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Pay TV providers mark first-ever net loss of customers in 2013

Pay TV takes another blow.


Chase Hoffberger

Internet Culture

The revolution will not be televised. Or at least, you won’t be paying any cable companies to see it. 

A recent study conducted by media watchdogs Leightman Research Group found that paid TV providers had their worst collective year ever. The 13 largest multi-channel video providers—a group that makes up 94 percent of the market—lost about 105,000 net video subscribers. It’s the first time in history that the mentioned providers have collectively posted a year-over-year net loss of subscribers. 

The13 includes the largest of the large: Cablevision, Charter, Cable One, Time Warner, Comcast. Providers like Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-Verse actually gained subscribers (536,000 and 924,000, respectively), as well as DirecTV, which added 169,000. But Time Warner lost 825,000 and Comcast lost 305,000, and Charter. In total, the seven largest companies lost about 1,500,000 subscribers in 2013. 

“Cable providers now have a 52 percent share of the top multi-channel video subscribers in the US, compared to a 58 percent share three years ago,” Bruce Leichtman, the group’s president, said.

The news falls in line with recent reports that the pay TV business is in trouble. Between YouTube’s emergence into premium content, decreased rates for streaming sites like Netflix, and the rise of alternative viewing experiences like Twitch, paying for sports highlights and old Friends reruns just doesn’t seem so appealing anymore. 

Or at least, it’s not worth dealing with the customer service


Photo by dailyinvention/flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III

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