Though still losing subscribers, the U.S. cable market posted its best quarter in years.
According to IHS Technology, cable lost more than 132,000 subscribers, the lowest number since the first quarter of 2011. Those numbers compare to an average of 480,000 subscribers leaving the cable market on average every quarter during the past two years.
Overall, more than 200,000 new subscribers joined the pay-TV market—which includes satellite, cable and IPTV—during the first quarter of this year.
“The first quarter is generally the best time of the year for the U.S. cable market, and the start of 2014 was no exception,” said Erik Brannon of IHS Technology. “However, the negative outlook for cable remains the same, as it is expected to continue to contract as AT&T’s IPTV service is anticipated to keep gobbling up subscribers.”
The country’s largest two IPTV providers—AT&T and Verizon—together added 258,000 subscribers during the first quarter, the lowest such growth in that sector since 2007.
With the rise of over-the-top (OTT) content, cable providers certainly have their work cut out for them when it comes to retaining customers and attracting new ones. After all, in today’s difficult economic climate, many customers might view OTT as a less-expensive alternative for entertainment. But on the other hand, the news could be an indication that the economy is in fact picking up steam.
Whatever the case may be, cable providers aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. As TV Everywhere technology continues to evolve, one could expect cable companies to remain aggressively competitive against their OTT counterparts for the foreseeable future.