Back in June cord cutting's biggest head-in-ground denier, former Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett, performed a complete 180 and acknowledged cord cutting is very real
. Just a year or so ago Moffett enjoyed mocking cord cutters
as poor, irrelevant basement dwellers, when he wasn't denying their existence entirely. Now at his own analysis firm where pushing select stock holdings (*cough* cable) isn't a priority, Moffett's suddenly singing an entirely different tune.
In his latest market analysis
, Moffett points out that the pay TV industry is down 360,000 subscribers, or 0.3% from last quarter, and the pay TV industry has lost 911,000 subscribers in the last year. Cord cutting skeptics long insisted that as the housing market recovered, so would subscriber numbers -- but that never happened.
"Cord cutting used to be a myth. It isn't anymore,” Moffett writes in a new note. “No, the numbers aren’t huge. But they’re statistically significant."
Except cord cutting was never a myth, Moffett was just wrong. Moffett's not alone; ratings firm Nielsen has also long been a staunch cord cutting denier, despite the firm being unable to even track most Internet viewing
. When cord cutting could no longer be denied as a legitimate trend, Nielsen simply changed the language they use for these users
, replacing the term "cord cutter" with "Zero TV households."
The numbers have long shown that cord cutting was a real phenomenon -- it was just easier to dismiss it because the numbers involved were initially so small, and many of the people leaving cable operators were heading to satellite and telco TV. Now that satellite is seeing these reductions as well
(and telcoTV growth is slowing), even the biggest skeptics can no longer pretend that cord cutting is akin to unicorn and yeti.
One thing Moffett wasn't entirely wrong about? As these losses mount, you're going to see more and more cable operators attempt to impose draconian usage-based pricing to recoup lost revenues. Moffett has historically tried to argue that's a good thing
being able to charge more money for the same or less product as bandwidth prices plummet), though you can ask a Canadian friend just how much fun ultra-low caps and high overages can be when implemented in an uncompetitive market.