The Ratings Game: 1.7 million Americans cut the cord last quarter as traditional TV continues to erode

by | Aug 25, 2023 | Stock Market

Television viewers continued to cut the cord in droves during the latest quarter as the value proposition of traditional TV dwindled further. Some 1.71 million pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. ditched their services in the second quarter, compared with 2 million in the first quarter, according to Wells Fargo analyst Steven Cahall. While declines in the most recent quarter were smaller on an absolute basis, they accelerated on a percentage basis, with subscribers falling 7% from a year before, compared with a 6.8% drop in the first quarter.

“The drivers are clear: more content on streaming, higher costs of the pay TV bundle, fragmentation of engagement on screens of all sizes,” Cahall wrote in a note to clients earlier this week. Cahall looked at both linear services and virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) like Sling and YouTube TV that let people watch TV networks without traditional cable, and found that 1.72 million people parted ways with linear services, while a net of just 8,000 piled into vMVPDs, making for the lowest quarter in his history of tracking that metric. A number of current trends in the media industry could affect future cord-cutting patterns. Streaming services have been raising price …

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