Cord-cutting seems to have no end in sight with the return of live sports in limbo and nothing new on TV to watch except depressing news about the virus.
Cable companies, including Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and others, lost 1.8 million subscribers in the first quarter this year.
AT&T lost the most subscribers with 897,000 saying goodbye to continued rising bills amid the COVID-19 crisis. Unlike in previous quarters where households were cutting the cord, now restaurants, bars, and hotels are ditching the dish as well.
With stay-at-home orders and no one traveling, many restaurants and hotels have canceled or paused their cable subscriptions. Bars have turned off the tube as well due to no live sports airing that helps to bring in customers. While the numbers are bad for cable companies, the economic pain didn’t just stop with traditional providers.
In the first quarter of 2020, YouTube TV, SlingTV, and other comparable services saw a 341,000 subscriber decline. While traditional and digital services that offer live linear cable channels saw declines, on-demand services like Netflix saw subscriber increases during the first quarter of the year.
With Netflix seeing millions of new customers, even during a global pandemic, it’s no wonder Comcast, AT&T, and other media conglomerates are launching new on-demand programming streaming services.
Unless live sports returns soon, cable TV’s decline is only going to accelerate. The industry cannot survive without live sports.
Of the top 20 primetime telecasts of 2019, 14 were sports with the Super Bowl as the most-watched show of the year. Other popular broadcasts included the Academy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards, both live events.
Unfortunately for cable, live events, including sports and awards shows, could still be months or even years away.
Live events are cable’s future, and without them, well, cable’s future looks like this:
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