According to the latest data from Leichtman Research
, the top nine largest cable companies lost 1,415,000 video subscribers in 2012 -- compared to a net loss of about 1,600,000 subscribers in 2011. Time Warner Cable fared the worst of all cable operators, losing 525,000 video subscribers on the year. The significantly larger Comcast lost 336,000 subscribers on the year.
The good news (for pay TV execs in general, anyway) is that most of those users are headed to satellite TV and phone TV services and not Internet video services. The top telephone providers added 1,300,000 video subscribers in 2012, while satellite TV companies added 288,000 video subscribers in 2012.
Phone and satellite providers have been more aggressive in launching new DVR functionality like Hopper
, or redesigning their GUI's to be more cutting edge (like Verizon's FiOS TV upgrades
. Cable operators also continue to take a heavier beating when it comes to customer satisfaction rankings.
By technology, the top nine cable companies lay claim to 51.3 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies have 34.1 million subscribers, and the top telephone companies currently serve 9.3 million subscribers.
Collectively, the thirteen largest pay TV operators saw 170,000 net pay TV additions in 2012, though that net total is 230,000 net subscribers smaller than in was in 2011. A recent Nielsen report noted
that 5% of all TV viewers (about 5 million people) currently watch TV without a traditional pay TV subscription.
These numbers collectively help further cement TV executive opinion that they don't have much to worry about financially from cord cutters -- yet. Granted the cable and broadcast industry go to immense lengths to ensure that alternatives to pay TV remain constrained through lawsuits, content licensing restrictions, broadband usage caps and other tactics, so that alternative video growth is hamstrung shouldn't come as much of a surprise.