As late as the mid-2010's, some companies still brushed off cord cutting as a myth but towards the end of the decade it hit North America like a hammer. Cord cutting has now reached Europe, too.
Cord cutting: From USA to Europe
Cord-cutting reached new heights in the US in Q3 2019. More than 20,000 US households are cutting the cord every single day. In addition, many are downgrading - or 'cord-shaving'.
Cord-cutting has now also hit Europe and the wider EMEA region, according to informitv's Multiscreen Index that covers the 100 leading TV providers. In Q3 2019, 660,000 households cut the cord throughout this region, meaning that there was a total net loss of 2.09 million pay TV subscribers worldwide over the span of just three months.
Informitv noted that "in Europe, Sky had a net loss of subscribers for the first time, losing 98,000 across the United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, Austria and Italy". This is down from a gain of 304, 000 in the previous quarter. Comcast, which owns Sky, has 44.34 million subscribers making it the leading pay TV provider. For comparison, Netflix has over 158 million streaming subscribers.
Consolidation in TV market
As viewers abandon conventional pay TV providers, big Hollywood studios and telecom operators have begun acquiring struggling studios or distributors. These new giants can afford to shred TV subscribers while they adapt to the new streaming reality.
- "Although some operators are losing television subscribers, the Multiscreen Index puts this in context," said William Cooper, director of Multiscreen Index. "Despite some subscriber attrition, corporate consolidation is creating some very large players with economies of scale. With substantial recurring revenues they can still afford to lose some customers."
Later in 2020, Comcast's NBCUniversal and AT&T's WarnerMedia will launch their respective streaming services, Peacock and HBO Max, as they start the transition from conventional pay TV to streaming. These same two companies are losing TV subscribers at record pace.
- Source: informitv Multiscreen Index