Cord-cutting – a longtime secular phenomenon as television viewing habits shift – has only had reason to increase its pace with the COVID-19 pandemic.
While the widespread lockdowns provided a boost for in-home entertainment, namely TV and videogaming, the relatively high cost of pay television (averaging $100/month or more) that spurred a subscription decline in the first place has become a key factor, as more families face budget cuts this year.
In the second quarter, the share of U.S. wireline broadband homes that no longer subscribe to a multichannel video programming distributor hit 37%, according to Kagan. That percentage has risen from 12.5% of broadband homes without pay TV in Q1 2014.
And with the increasing penetration of broadband Internet, that means that 30% of all occupied U.S. homes now don’t subscribe to a pay TV service.
Looked at from the other angle, the number of broadband-only homes in the first half of this year jumped by 80% year-over-year.
While some providers saw a sequential slowdown in the video exodus in the second quarter vs. first quarter, providers of pay TV continued to see an accelerating pace of comparative video subscriber declines. A year ago, those year-over-year drops were around 6%; in Q2 of this year the decline percentage jumped to double digits. By way of example, Comcast saw a 5.7% decline in Q2 (vs. a 2% decline the year before), while Verizon saw video subs drop by 6.5%.
Meanwhile, with dropouts in premium TV as well as in AT&T TV Now, AT&T video declines hit 19.7% overall in Q2 compared to the prior year (nearly a million net drops of video subscriptions, slightly better than declines of 1.035M subs in Q1).
Top non-streaming MVPDs by subscribers: Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Charter (NASDAQ:CHTR), DirecTV/U-verse (NYSE:T), Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH), Verizon FiOS (NYSE:VZ), Optimum/Suddenlink (NYSE:ATUS), Frontier FiOS (NASDAQ:FTR), Altantic Broadband (OTCPK:CGEAF), Sparklight (NYSE:CABO).