The telecom research firm MoffettNathanson predicts that the number of households applying for traditional multichannel services (cable or satellite) will fall from about 91 million to about 87.5 million in 2018. This is about 3.8% loss. By the end of 2019, the company estimates that this figure will be about 84.3 million – a fall of 3.6%. In other words, the same.
There is no doubt that the bottom part of the satellite TV business. AT&T reported the loss of DirecTV on Wednesday from Wednesday morning, with 403,000 subscribers canceling traditional satellite services and another 267,000 customers running DirecTV Now, the company's streaming service that mimics the pay-TV package. (A quick reminder that in 2015, AT&T paid $ 50 billion to DirecTV – an asset that now has to pay customers in every possible way. This acquisition is still getting worse.)
Dish numbers will also not be pretty. In the third quarter, more than 360,000 satellite TV subscribers fled, and its combined streaming service, Sling TV, added just 26,000.
But customers do not run out of cable with the same speed. Take a look at Comcast and Charter – the two largest US cable TV providers. In the third quarter, the Charter lost a loss of 66,000 customers – less than 104,000 lost in the third quarter of 2017. Comcast lost 29,000 residential video subscribers in the fourth quarter, again less than 33,000 lost in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Total video loss for both companies has increased in 2018 compared to 2017 – it is no surprise. Nobody claims the package is broken. Apparently Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and other streaming services continue to share. But is there something special about 2019, which will cause damage from the rock, like Cook suggests?
Perhaps the biggest new streaming opportunities by 2020 will not be fully rooted. As we reported for the first time in October, Apple is going to give the original content to device users free of charge as part of the service that will be launched later this year. AT & T Warner Media announced streaming services this year. Disney is ready to debut its streaming service Disney + at the end of 2019. NBC Universal is working on a streaming service that will hit the first quarter of 2020.
The increased OTT service price, which is in direct competition with cable packages, is increasing, making them less attractive alternative triple sets from Comcast and Charter, where video costs are subsidized by purchasing broadband internet. Hulu has just raised the price of live TV by $ 5 per month. DirecTV Now the loss of subscribers was the result of AT&T, which ended with advertising prices. And cable companies are continuing to acquire more personalized packages and better mobile applications to keep their subscribers home.
Another potential catalyst for real acceleration of cable ties defects would be if 5G mobile broadband can be used as an alternative to cable broadband. But most experts, including Craig Moffett at MoffettNathanson, do not expect 5G for many competitors in cable TV in 2019 (or even years later).