Cable television brought us narrow-casting, which undercuts over-the-air broadcasting, and video on demand, which erodes the notion of “appointment television.” Now the emergence of “over the top” internet television poses new threats and opens new opportunities to these incumbent operators.
FCC approval of Charter Communications’s merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks means that three major players — Comcast, the New Charter and ATT — control most of America’s digital pipelines. Cable TV providers suffered what analysts called “modest” losses of video subscribers in 2015, continuing a 2-year trend due to new internet TV competition, “cord-cutting” and “cord-nevers.” Broadband subscriptions, on the other hand, showed strong increases.
Subscribers to U.S. video and internet services (Q1 2016 or as noted)
Q3-2016 company reports: Video subs increased by 32K in Q3; high-speed internet added 330K subs; 11,643,000 voice customers
Merger of Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks approved 2016; 9,400,000 telephone subs.
ATT (includes DIRECTV)
Will stream DirecTV to connected devices in Q4 2016; 54,700,000 consumer wireless customers; merger with Time Warner announced
112,573,000 wireless customers; acquired AOL in 2015
activated HULU on set-top boxes; 2,185,000 voice customers
Q2 2015 – Sling TV subs now included in video count.
Variety notes: “It was a punishing year for the movie business. The total box office slipped 5.2% from 2013’s record-breaking numbers, falling to $10.35 billion. Attendance figures were even worse. Roughly 1.26 billion consumers purchased tickets, representing a two-decade low.”