The exodus away from pay TV continues unabated. As more cord-cutting options become available, and as streaming services like Netflix and Amazon continue to pick up more new users, one-time cable and satellite TV customers are leaving their subscriptions behind in droves. The New York Post has reported that in the first quarter of 2017 alone, major pay TV providers saw a net loss of 475,000 accounts, while Netflix added more than 1.4 million domestic subscribers during the same period.
The hardest hit provider was Dish, which lost a reported 143,000 subscribers — almost twice as many as Wall Street had predicted it would drop during Q1 2017. Charter Communications, which owns Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, added 100,000 lost customers of its own to the tally.
The ease, inexpensiveness, and cultural relevance of platforms like Netflix and Amazon are certainly major culprits for the rapid rise in cord cutting, but those companies have been around for years. The newest problem for pay TV providers is the presence of “skinny bundles,” which offer cheaper packages than cable by cutting out the fat in their channel lineups. Since the start of 2017, several of these services have emerged, including YouTube TV and an offering Hulu launched today. In coming quarters, these attractive bundles will surely continue to eat into the pay TV market.
The solution some pay TV providers have come up with is to join the skinny bundle revolution. Dish, for example, operates Sling TV, while DirecTV offers its customers DirecTV Now. Whether these services can survive in what has fast become a crowded market remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: The days of cable dominance in the TV landscape are over.