The second quarter of 2020 was marked by a full-blown worldwide pandemic. And as most businesses suffered dramatically during this time period, services in the streaming video industry such as Netflix and Roku have benefited from stay home orders which led to increase streaming hours.

However, as the cord cutting trend continues, Big Cable was not able to capitalize on the stay home orders. According to the most recent report from Leichtman Research, the top cable companies lost 501,400 subscribers in Q2.

Let’s put that into terms of money lost. The most recent estimates put the average cable bill at $109.60 per month. So when you crunch the numbers, that means Big Cable lost about $54,953,440 from subscribers in the second quarter.

We also know that the average cable bill includes $37.11 in “hidden fees,” which are the fees tacked onto your bill after the advertised price. With the amount of subscriber losses this past quarter, Big Cable lost $18,606,954 in hidden fees alone!

Here’s a breakdown of losses by cable provider:

Comcast: (478,000)
Charter: +94,000
Cox: (50,000)
Altice: (34,600)
Mediacom: (17,000)
Atlantic Broadband: (2,800)
Cable One: (13,000)

In all, Big Cable lost about 500,000 video subscribers in Q2 2020, in comparison to a loss of about 455,000 subscribers in Q2 2019.

One other interesting thing to note: all major cable providers lost subs except Charter, who actually added nearly 100,000 subscribers. This is the first gain in video subscribers since 2014 for Charter! This could possibly be the result of Charter offering 60 days free internet to new customers, which led to many of those customers signing up for TV service.

But if you think that sounds bad, let’s take a look at satellite TV services DIRECTV and Dish. According to the report, satellite lost 886,000 subscribers in Q2 – which comes out to a loss of approximately $97,105,600!

DIRECTV: (846,000)
Dish: (40,000)

As you can see, DIRECTV was hit particularly hard, losing many more subs than Dish. In all, satellite providers lost about 885,000 subscribers in Q2 2020, in comparison to a loss of about 860,000 subscribers in Q2 2019.

All being said and done, Pay-TV lost a total of about $152,059,040 during the second quarter, where people were stuck at home and watching more TV than ever!

It’s worth noting that these losses overall were about a half million fewer than in the first quarter of 2020, signifying that stay home orders may have kept Pay-TV companies from losing even more subscribers. Still, it wasn’t enough to reverse the trend of consumer fleeing traditional TV service.

Netflix, on the other hand, went the complete opposite direction. The company reported 10,000,000 subscriber additions during Q2. When you multiply that out by the most popular plan, Netflix dollars gained in Q2 sit at around $129,900,000. It’s almost as if most of the Pay-TV money went straight into Netflix’s pockets!


William Parker