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Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

More than 1 million people ditched their cable and satellite TV packages last quarter, the most ever in a quarterly earnings period, according to research firm MoffettNathanson.

Why it matters: Americans are increasingly giving up on expensive cable and satellite TV packages for more affordable services delivered over a broadband connection.

By the numbers: More than 80% of pay-TV subscribers in the U.S. come from four cable and satellite providers: AT&T, Comcast, Charter and Dish. Those companies together lost 887,000 subscribers this quarter, mostly driven by big losses at Dish and AT&T.

  • Dish lost 367,000 customers, its highest quarterly loss ever, after cutting access to Univision amid a months-long carriage-fee dispute that is still unresolved.
  • AT&T lost 359,000 subscribers for the quarter, far surpassing analyst estimates of 245,000 subscribers lost.

The big picture: There are roughly 120 million TV homes in the U.S., per Nielsen, and about 90 million of them (75%) still pay for traditional TV. But that percentage has been decreasing as more people cut the cord.

  • In total, eMarketer predicts cord-cutting will grow more than 30% this year. eMarketer increased projections for cord cutting twice in less than a year, a sign that the trend is accelerating.
Expand chart
Adapted from an eMarketer report; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: Many pay-TV providers are hoping to offset losses with gains in subscribers to digital TV alternatives, like AT&T's DirecTV NOW or Dish's Sling TV.

  • But those companies haven't been able to come close to closing the gap, in part because of so much competition from other digital live TV alternatives, like Google's YouTube TV, Sony's PlayStation Vue and Fubo TV, as well as non-live TV alternatives with original programming, like Amazon and Netflix.
  • Both Sling TV and DirecTV Now are seeing slowed growth, making it even less likely that those digital alternatives will offset traditional subscriber losses for the two biggest pay-TV companies.
  • Total subscriber losses were roughly 500,000, the third-worst quarter in industry history and worst since Q2 2016, per BTIG Media Analyst Rich Greenfield.

The bottom line: Traditional pay-TV is in big trouble.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

CCP releases two jailed Canadians after Huawei CFO deal with DOJ

Photo: Sheldon Cooper/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Two Canadians imprisoned by the Chinese government for over 1,000 days have been released and are expected to arrive in Canada on Saturday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Friday.

Why it matters: Their release comes hours after Huawei Technologies CFO Meng Wanzhou reached a deal with the U.S. Department of Justice that resolves the criminal charges against her and could pave the way for her to return to China.

Updated 15 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Arizona GOP's private recount of 2020 election confirms Biden's win

Contractors working on behalf of the GOP examine and recount 2020 ballots at Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix in May. Photo: Courtney Pedroza/Getty Images

In an odd coda to the 2020 election, private contractors conducting a GOP-commissioned recount in Arizona confirmed President Biden’s win in Maricopa County.

Why it matters: The unofficial, party-driven recount has been heavily covered on cable news as part of former President Trump's continued effort to sow doubt about the election result.

Del Rio bridge camp empty following Haitian migrant surge

A boy bathes himself in a jug of water inside a migrant camp at the U.S.-Mexico border on Sept. 21 in Del Rio, Texas. Photo: John Moore/Getty Images

The last migrants camping under the Del Rio International Bridge, which connects Texas and Mexico, departed on Friday, Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced during a White House press briefing.

Driving the news: Thousands of migrants, mostly from Haiti, had arrived to the makeshift camp after crossing the southern border seeking asylum. Roughly 1,800 migrants will now head to U.S. Customs and Border Protection processing centers.