Cord-cutting and -trimming are taking a heavy toll on the pay TV industry. The good news is that most of the damage has already been done. While quarterly reports on pay TV’s decline make the number of cord-cutting customers seem like a trickle, Digital TV Research puts a dollar sign on the loss and shows that it’s really a torrent. The U.S. pay TV industry can expect a $26.6 billion decline from 2015 to 2023. The industry peaked in 2015 with revenues of $107.7 billion, and will take in 26 percent less in 2023.
U.S. pay TV had the most subscribers in 2012 with 100.3 million, which should drop to 80.3 million by 2023. In 2013, 87.6 percent of U.S. homes subscribed to pay TV service. In 2023, only 66.7 percent will. Breaking that down, Digital TV Research shows that cable subscribers are falling faster than satellite’s. Cable banked $54.1 billion at its height in 2010, but will earn only $36.8 billion in 2023. Between 2010 and 2023 it will shed 12 million subs. In a bit of good news for cable, the numbers are beginning to plateau as most of the losses have already occurred.
While satellite took in $39.8 billion in 2017, that will drop to $33.6 billion in 2023, a drop of 16 percent. Between 2017 and 2023 the area will lose 4.1 million subs. Again, most of that damage (3 million subs in 2017 alone) has already happened.
IPTV’s fall in the U.S. has been especially dramatic since AT&T pushed its U-Verse customers to switch to DirecTV. While IPTV peaked in 2015 with $9.6 billion in sales, that will drop to $4.8 billion by 2023.“Cable TV is not the only platform to suffer. Satellite TV and IPTV are also losing subscribers and revenues. Much of this is due to the operators shifting their subscribers to online platforms,” notes Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. “However, growth from vMVPDs is not expected to make up completely for the subscriber and revenue shortfalls from traditional pay TV.”