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Paid TV Subscriptions In The U.S. Drop

by Sean P. Aune | August 24, 2010August 24, 2010 2:00 pm PDT

Craig Moffett, a cable industry analyst at Bernstein, was quoted in The New York Times this past weekend as saying, “[canceling cable subscriptions for Internet viewing is] perhaps the most overhyped and overanticipated phenomenon in tech history.”  Somehow we doubt he was too excited about the news that came out Monday afternoon that cable subscriptions dropped for the first time since the 1980’s over the past quarter.  Perhaps we should send Mr. Moffett a towel to get the egg off of his face?

SNL Kagan has been tracking paid TV subscriptions since the 1980’s, and it has just reported that the second quarter of this year saw 711,000 subscribers leave cable.  It appears that 495,000 of them moved to satellite subscriptions, but that still leaves 216,000 unaccounted for.  During the same quarter last year, subscriptions climbed by 378,000.

US Cable Trends

Multiple sources are saying that a lot of the decline has to do with introductory offers ending for people that were switching over to Digital TV, which makes a lot of sense. And there is absolutely nothing to prove that the missing 216,000 have gone over to watching television over the Internet, but something is definitely in the air.  According to Reuters, SNL Kagan estimates that in 2009 1.5 million homes were using video streaming sites as their primary video solution choice. Estimates are pegged at three million for this year and upwards of 4.3 million for 2011.

There is also the factor that people may just be giving up television.  In these difficult economic times, people are making more difficult choices, and the amount you pay to your cable company is an easy target for cutting expenses.

We’ll have to see if this trend continues, but this should definitely serve as a wake-up call to the cable companies that not all is right in their little world.

What say you?  Are you prepared to cut the cord as it were?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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