Around 60% of pay-TV subscribers who regularly watch sports will remain loyal to the service and might be the most solid standing ground for the ecosystem, as long as live sports remain exclusively within the pay-TV bundle.
Recent studies indicate that while millions of Americans have already cut the cord and canceled their pay-TV service this year, many more could be planning to do the same in the near future. New research from analyst firm MoffettNathanson shows that 60% of pay-TV subscribers who regularly watch sports remain loyal to the service and might be the most solid standing ground for the pay-TV ecosystem – this, as long as live sports remain exclusively within the pay-TV bundle. But that leaves 40% of the current pay-TV universe “at potential risk” of leaving.
On the other hand, analyst firm Leichtman Research Group, indicates that pay-TV providers now account for about 84.8 million subscribers – the top seven cable companies have 46.1 million video subscribers, satellite TV services have 26.3 million subscribers, the top telephone companies have 8.6 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting virtual multichannel video programming distributor services have 3.8 million subscribers, this means another approximately 34 million pay-TV subscribers could be at risk of canceling their service, given that they will be getting their content from different sources at a “more reasonable price”.
“In addition, as each cable company continues pushing Flex and other OTT products to their customer base, cord cutting becomes ever easier,” wrote Analyst Michael Nathanson from MoffettNathanson“ This could add further pressure to the pay TV ecosystem and keep the rate of cord cutting elevated in 2020.”
This estimates not a favorable scenery to the U.S. pay TV industry, with predictions of letting go of another 6.2 million video subscribers in 2020, a slight difference from the 6.4 million the analyst firm predicts will be lost in total this year. If that loss comes to a reality it will represent a 6.7% rate of decline, ahead of 6.2% in 2019 and well ahead of 1.2% in 2018 when video subscriber losses totaled 1.2 million.