Cable companies have had to accept declining customer bases until they come up with a counter-punch against the rise of streaming and other cord-cutting services. From the beginning of 2015 through the end of last year, nine million Americans have either cut the cord or chosen not to buy a traditional cable package when moving into new households. Now, recently released earnings figures may foreshadow a more vigorous than expected move toward cutting the cord.
Charter Communications, which offers cable service under the Spectrum brand, announced on Friday that it lost 122,000 TV customers in the first quarter of 2018, exceeding projections of only 40,000 lost subscribers ahead of the earnings report. Comcast announced it had lost 96,000 customers for the quarter, its fourth straight quarter of subscriber losses, and slightly worse than analyst projections. AT&T’s DirecTV satellite service lost 188,000 customers in the same period, driving down video revenue by $660 million despite growth of its own online streaming service. Total cable subscriber numbers declined 3.4% over the course of 2017, a faster decline than in 2015 and 2016. Meanwhile, cable’s major antagonist, Netflix managed to net 1.96 million new subscribers . . .