Lack of Sports Driving Cord Cutting

    • Traditional TV subscriptions dropped by 1.8 million in the first three months of 2020.
    • Lack of sports and growing unemployment could continue trend.

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Fewer people are paying for TV. The nation’s cable and satellite providers experienced their sharpest decline ever, losing more than 2 million paying subscribers in the first three months of the year, according to the Wall Street Journal.

A MoffettNathanson analysis of the situation cited 30 million U.S. unemployment claims and a lack of sports during the coronavirus pandemic as the main reason. The trend is unlikely to change soon, as the analysts suspect the numbers will get worse in the second quarter.

“Sports are the glue that hold the whole thing together,” MoffettNathanson Analyst Craig Moffett told the WSJ. “Without sports, the system is unraveling.”

Satellite TV suffered the most, with more than a million dropping their service. Cable lost 600,000.

Notable Numbers:

  • Comcast: -409,000
  • Charter: -70,000
  • Dish (including Sling TV): -413,000
  • DirecTV and AT&T Uverse: -897,000

While cord-cutting has been a trend as streaming services take off, it appears they are experiencing growing pains of their own. Analysts estimated YouTube TV, Hulu Live, Playstation Vue – which shut down its 500,000 subscribers in January – fuboTV and Philo grew 75,000 net subscribers, a drop from last year’s first-quarter growth of 590,000.