More People Are Cutting the Pay-TV Cord

Is cord cutting ever going to stop? That's what some pay-TV companies must be wondering after a new study discovered that the industry lost more than 658,000 subscribers during the second quarter of 2015.

While cable companies have been bleeding subscribers for some time now, market-research firm IHS, which conducted the study, says its the first time that non-cable pay-TV operators—meaning satellite and telephone (telco) companies—also had a net loss of subscribers. According to IHS' "State of the U.S. Pay TV Operator" report, Dish lost twice as many subscribers as DirecTV (now owned by AT&T) if you subtract the subscribers from Sling TV—Dish's Internet streaming TV service—from Dish's numbers.

However, DirecTV often gets a subscriber bump once the NFL season starts, thanks to its exclusive on the NFL Sunday Ticket package.

Telecom companies. such as AT&T and Verizon, fared just a bit better, with less than 1 percent growth compared to the same period a year earlier. But AT&T U-verse TV, an Internet-based service, lost customers for the first time during the quarter, IHS says. It's still not quite clear, though, how the telecom giant will integrate DirecTV into its overall pay TV, broadband, and wireless strategy.

In an interesting twist, cable companies slightly increased their second-quarter numbers compared to the same stretch last year, primarily due to an ability to bundle TV service with faster broadband speeds, the latter a growing part of their business. For some top cable companies, broadband subscribers now surpass video subscribers.

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