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Cablevision Loses 134,000 Video Subs

7 Aug, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Cord-cutters are like zombies. They keep multiplying and coming.

Cablevision Aug. 7 lost 134,000 video subscribers in the second-quarter (ended June 30) to end with 2.6 million subs. The New York-based cable operator lost 16,000 video subs from the end of the first quarter on March 31.

Video sub loss remains a common theme across the pay-TV landscape as people increasingly seek less-expensive direct-to-consumer options such as broadband-only over-the-top video, including Netflix.

Dish Network lost 81,000 video subs, while Time Warner Cable and Comcast jettisoned 237,000 and 69,000 video subs, respectively, in their most-recent fiscal quarters.

MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said the overall pace of pay-TV decline is about 0.5%, adding that 1.4 million households shunned pay-TV entirely in 2014. Many of those households have switched to OTT video.

Indeed, CNBC’s “Mad Money” host Jim Cramer Aug. 7 characterized Netflix as a “media killer.”

Walt Disney CEO Bob Iger, who years ago championed an exclusive pay-TV movie distribution agreement with Netflix, during the company’s Aug. 4 fiscal call, took the high road, characterizing the SVOD pioneer as “more friend than foe,” underscoring the media giant’s growing concern about OTT video’s impact on linear TV.

Indeed, Disney’s stock had dropped nearly 10% through midday trading Aug. 7.

Regardless, Cablevision CEO James Dolan said that despite the handwringing in the media about cord-cutting and OTT video, there didn't appear to be any mass subscriber exodus.

"I don't think the sky is falling quite yet," Dolan said on the fiscal call.


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