Cable Is Losing A Ton Of Subscribers, Get The Details

We’ve all known that the Titanic of cable companies was going to be crashing into the iceberg of streaming services soon enough, but it looks like there are some pretty huge cracks forming already. As it stands, cable subscriptions are being dropped at a pretty fast clip, and it doesn’t look like it’s a trend that will be reversing any time soon, if ever. Hope your cord-cutting scissors are as sharp as can be.

Wall Street research firm Pacific Crest has put their efforts to figuring out just how well (or not) cable subscription services have fared in the past six years, and things are looking more dour than ever. The rate of people dropping cable has been solidly steady in recent years, as the 88% of households in 2010 with subscriptions to companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable has dropped down to 80% in 2015. So almost 2% of subscribers are dropping cable per year, on average. Yikes.

According to Business Insider, the top 8 cable providers saw 463,000 subscribers drop their services, with around 141,000 dropping plans at the same time last year. The year over year growth in cable subscribers has been a see-saw in years past, with the upticks being just enough to stop company execs from freaking out, but instead of something like a 2% growth dropping to a 1% growth, the first half of 2015 has seen that number topple down into the negatives, and there was a .5% decline in overall subscriptions.

As you can probably imagine, the same kinds of problems aren’t the really troubling anyone on the streaming side of things, at least places like Netflix and Hulu. That said, the numbers for limited-channel packages like Sling TV aren’t all that positive, with less than 70,000 subscribers signing on in the first quarter of this year, though at least there hasn’t been a clear decline.

Since the second half of 2011, when Netflix was in about 18% of homes, the streaming service’s customer base has doubled. In fact, Netflix’s subscription growth hit around 20% higher in the second quarter of 2015 than it did in the second quarter of 2014. Meanwhile, Amazon saw a 40% rise from the same time period, no doubt in part due to word of mouth for the stellar series Transparent, and Hulu’s customer base rose 45%.

It seems like this trend would have to top off at some point, but with the streaming trio’s respective original programming slates constantly getting bigger, that point may not happen at any point soon. So while we’re not digging cable’s grave just yet, we’re definitely making sure there’s enough room in the cemetery.

Nick Venable
Assistant Managing Editor

Nick is a Cajun Country native and an Assistant Managing Editor with a focus on TV and features. His humble origin story with CinemaBlend began all the way back in the pre-streaming era, circa 2009, as a freelancing DVD reviewer and TV recapper.  Nick leapfrogged over to the small screen to cover more and more television news and interviews, eventually taking over the section for the current era and covering topics like Yellowstone, The Walking Dead and horror. Born in Louisiana and currently living in Texas — Who Dat Nation over America’s Team all day, all night — Nick spent several years in the hospitality industry, and also worked as a 911 operator. If you ever happened to hear his music or read his comics/short stories, you have his sympathy.