Report: 625,000 households cut the cords in Q2 2015

In Q2 2015, cord cutting shifted from seeming trend to the new reality.

According to SNL Kagan’s 2nd-Quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber Report, released earlier today, pay TV operators lost 625,000 video subscribers in Q2 alone – bringing the total number of residential and commercial subscribers to 100.4 million.

According to SNL Kagan, “[t]he slide, which follows an uncharacteristically weak first quarter, points toward the likelihood of a much larger decline for full-year 2015 than the industry produced between 2010 and 2014, during what could essentially be seen as a period of general malaise.”

The report buoys the investor fear that sunk shares of Disney, Time Warner, and Viacom. Still, cable and telecom operators will continue to control the means (internet and 4G) by which viewers access cord-cutting platforms like Netflix, Roku, and Sling TV, and stand to – if not benefit greatly – maintain market control.

Below, additional highlights from SNL Kagan’s report:

- Cable’s basic-subscriber losses, at 350,000, came in at their lowest level since 2008, when the segment shed 211,000 basic video customers in the seasonally weak period. For perspective, from 2009 through 2014, second-quarter net losses averaged 609,000.

- The telcos increasingly appear to be trading subscriber gains for improved financials. AT&T's U-verse has aligned its strategy with DIRECTV’s focus on profitability. As a result of the belt tightening, the combined multichannel video subscribers served by FiOS and U-verse were flat at 11.7 million at the end of the second quarter, behind net adds of just 4,000.

- The DBS segment lost an estimated 304,000 subscribers, as DIRECTV and DISH Network both reported record declines. The DBS segment retreated to just under 34 million subs. (The DBS figure has moved from a reported total to an SNL Kagan estimate as DISH changed its financial reporting.)

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