Feb 26, 2019 - Economy

Skinny bundles may not salvage pay-TV declines

The total number of pay-TV subscribers, or people who buy cable or satellite TV packages, dropped 4.1% year-over-year last quarter, according to research firm MoffettNathanson.

Data: MoffettNathanson Research; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios
Data: MoffettNathanson Research; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios

Why it matters: Cord-cutting seems like an inevitable conclusion to the onslaught of streaming services entering the market today, but last quarter we saw a newer trend which was that Pay-TV losses weren’t offset by cord-cutters signing up for digital "skinny bundles," like Sling TV or YouTube TV.

  • Yes, but: "Given all of the new OTT options available both free and streaming, it’s inevitable that cord cutting is going to start picking up," says Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst at TV[R]EV. "But it’s also important to note that in a market with around 80% penetration, a loss of 1% of the customer base is still a trickle and not the tsunami that so many in the press make it out to be."

Go deeper: On life support: Record number of pay-TV watchers cut the cord

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