Pay TV lost 80,000 subscribers in the past year, says a study by Leichtman Research Group. Taking data from 13 cable providers in a 12-month period ending March 31, 2013, this is the first time pay TV has experienced a loss for a four-quarter period. I think it's something we all knew was happening. It's easy to get caught up in all of this and think, "Cable and TV are going to be no more in a few years," but that's completely wrong thinking. It just means that the internet has eaten into the entertainment pie and cable has to share.
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I was a little worried reading this story that the "loss" was going to be one of those things where a company gained a certain amount in the previous year, and then didn't gain as much in the next year, and they called that a loss. But this is an actual net loss.
However, consider this:
Of the 13 pay TV providers, which represent 95 percent of the entire market, there are 94.9 million subscribers. I know we live in a country that appreciates capitalism, so just the mere fact that these companies didn't gain is a big deal. But 80,000 subscribers lost in a sea of 94.9 million? It likely just means pay TV will have to settle for slower gains and maybe a few losses, but still tens of millions of subscribers and never a mass exodus.
It doesn't mean that online video is going to be the top dog, or that pay TV is going away anytime soon. It just means that people keep finding different ways to watch entertainment. Those who adapt will survive, as always.
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