70% of US TV Networks Are Showing A Loss In Paid Subscribers

With more options for streaming TV than ever before and more devices to stream on than ever before, this shouldn’t come as a surprise, but new research is showing that cable TV is on the decline – big time. For more than 70% of TV networks, paid subscriber numbers are going down. In fact, according to research released by Pivotal Research Group, only 35 out of 118 US TV networks are showing a growth in paid subscribers over this time last year.

Major network groups that saw the biggest growth were Crown Media Holdings at 3.4%, AMC Networks at 2.0%, CBS at 1.3% and Fox at .4%. All independent network groups as a whole gained 2%.

When it comes to individual networks, Discovery’s Velocity was the biggest gainer at a 7.8%, followed by FXX (from Fox) at little over 7%. FX Movie Channel gained 6.2% in their subscriber base, while NBCU’s Sprout grew just under 5%) and AMC’s BBC America 4.5%.

Pivotal’s Senior Research Analyst Brian Wieser said this growth makes sense, because it pretty closely matches the new number of US households. In these cases, it appears people sign up for cable TV as the default option.

But it was major TV network groups that saw the biggest falls, with A+E Networks going down 2.9% and Discovery Communications and Time Warner both sinking 2.2%. NBCUniversal dropped 2%, Scripps and Disney/ABC Television both 1.9% and Viacom 1.8%.

On the individual network side, NBCU’s Esquire plummeted 27.6%, Spike TV went down 9.5%, CMT 6.9%, Boomerang 6.3% and Cloo 5.5%. Major networks like ESPN2 and ESPN also both fell about 3.5%.

One really important note to take from this is that these numbers do not include subscribers from multichannel streaming services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Playstation Vue.

What do these numbers mean? They just prove what the industry has been saying for a while. Streaming is easier and cheaper than ever before, and customers are starting to take notice.

Artie Beaty

Artie Beaty

Artie Beaty is a freelance writer (and unabashed Chicago Cubs fan) from Charlotte, NC. He has almost 15 years experience freelancing. Email him at artiebeaty@streamingobserver.com.
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Artie Beaty

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