Cable and Satellite Pay TV Providers Lost Almost 3 Million Subscribers in 2018

It’s a bad time to be a traditional pay TV provider. For the last several years, customers have been fleeing traditional cable and satellite services thanks to the rise of the many new free and paid streaming video options now available. While the loss of pay TV subscribers has been happening for some time, the latest data published by market research firm Leichtman Research Group, Inc. should have major pay TV providers considering their career options. According to the most recent figures, nearly 3 million pay TV subscribers cancelled their subscriptions in 2019. Is this the end of pay TV?

Not quite yet – although it won’t be too much longer. In a press release issued this week, Leichtman Research Group reports that major pay TV providers lost about 2,875,000 video subscribers in 2018. In 2017, that figure was only 1,510,000, meaning the number of people cancelling their cable and satellite subscriptions has almost doubled in just a year.

The top six cable companies lost 910,000 video subscribers in 2018, while satellite TV services lost  2,360,000 subscribers. It’s not just TV and video, though; the top telephone companies in the US also lost about 245,000 video subscribers in 2018 – less than in 2017 but still a staggering loss.

Unsurprisingly, some of Leichtman Research Group’s key findings include data which show that some of the biggest internet-delivered video services like Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW added subscribers in 2018, although not as many as in 2017.

With pay TV subscribers losing customers and the rate of streaming growth slowing down, it makes you wonder if perhaps the market will soon reach equilibrium. Ultimately, some households and subscribers will hold on to their cable or satellite subscriptions no matter what in order to retain access to all of their favorite content. On the other hand, some streaming customers will stay as far away from cable and satellite as possible. How’s it all going to end?