The channels getting hit hardest by cord cutting
These cable networks have suffered the steepest subscriber declines
October 11, 2016
Everyone’s fretting over cord cutting, understandably. The abandoning of pay-TV subscriptions is one of the biggest issues facing media these days.
But cable cutting isn’t hitting all cable networks equally.
New data from Deutsche Bank shows that one network has lost more subscribers than any other from cord cutting. That’s The Weather Channel.
DB looked at subscription rates to cable networks from 2011 to 2015.
It found that in that span, TWC is down nearly 12 million subscriptions, and little wonder. These days people can go on their phones to find out what the weather is. They needn’t go through the bother of turning on the TV.
Though TWC is sure to see ratings rise this weekend with Hurricane Matthew about to hit, it has little long-term promise. Some cable providers, such as Verizon FiOS, have stopped carrying it because of that.
For those cutting the cord or moving to skinny bundles (buying cable plans with just a handful of essential channels), the Weather Channel is an obvious sacrifice.
Other decliners: ESPN and Viacom networks
The other networks in the top 10 biggest subscription declines are all down less than TWC, between 6 million and 8 million. For some, that represents between 5 and 10 percent of their subscribers, a hefty drop.
One of the networks is ESPN, whose subscriber declines have been the subject of much hand-wringing. The network airs some of the most popular programs on cable, including the NBA and “Monday Night Football,” but even that can’t keep subscribers on board.
A slew of channels on the list of top decliners (Spike, MTV, VH1, Nickelodeon and CMT) are all owned by troubled Viacom.
Nick, in particular, has faced a rough time as kids increasingly migrate to streaming video on demand services to watch television, sometimes even the same shows that originate on Nickelodeon, such as “SpongeBob SquarePants.”
There’s no sign these losses will abate. Studies put the percentage of U.S. households that do not have cable at anywhere from 13 to 25 percent, and those numbers have been on the rise for several years.
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