Entertainment & Technology

The Cost of Communications

Communication services are changing radically, and may require a rethink.

Cable cord cutting, people deciding to trade cable TV for streaming services, is growing quarter by quarter and it’s having a big impact on corporate bottom lines. For example, Charter Communications, my incompetent cable television provider, this week reported 122,000 lost subscribers in the first quarter of 2018. Sometimes I wish I was one. That follows 100,000 lost in the first quarter 2017. That’s at a cost of about one hundred dollars per subscriber monthly.

Earlier this week, market leader Comcast Corp. (now Spectrum) told Wall Street it lost 96,000 video subscribers during the first quarter, or about fifty percent more than Wall Street analysts were predicting. It marked Comcast’s fourth straight quarter of video losses.

Then there are reports that programming supplier ESPN lost 12 million subscribers since the high of 100 million in 2011, at a cost of $7.75 per month per subscriber. ESPN, like the broader cable industry, has been losing subscribers at a fairly regular rate ― about 300,000 per month ― over the last two years.  In a quarterly earnings report released a year ago, it admitted to losing seven million subscribers between 2011 and 2015.

Cable Subscription Trends  (Picture,  New School TV)

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