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mr2channel
08-10-2011, 01:19 PM
Like we did not see this one coming...

Pay TV industry loses record number of subscribers
August 10, 2011 12:28 PM EDT
NEW YORK (AP) — The weak economy is hitting Americans where they spend a lot of their free time: at the TV set.
They're canceling or forgoing cable and satellite TV subscriptions in record numbers, according to an analysis by The Associated Press of the companies' quarterly earnings reports.
The U.S. subscription-TV industry first showed a small net loss of subscribers a year ago. This year, that trickle has turned into a stream. The chief cause appears to be persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents, reducing the need for a separate cable bill.
But it's also possible that people are canceling cable, or never signing up in the first place, because they're watching cheap Internet video. Such a threat has been hanging over the industry. If that's the case, viewers can expect more restrictions on online video, as TV companies and Hollywood studios try to make sure that they get paid for what they produce.
In a tally by the AP, eight of the nine largest subscription-TV providers in the U.S. lost 195,700 subscribers in the April-to-June quarter.
That's the first quarterly loss for the group, which serves about 70 percent of households. The loss amounts to 0.2 percent of their 83.2 million video subscribers.
The group includes four of the five biggest cable companies, which have been losing subscribers for years. It also includes phone companies Verizon Communications Inc. and AT&T Inc. and satellite broadcasters DirecTV Group Inc. and Dish Network Corp. These four have been poaching customers from cable, making up for cable-company losses — until now.
The phone companies kept adding subscribers in the second quarter, but Dish lost 135,000. DirecTV gained a small number, so combined, the U.S. satellite broadcasters lost subscribers in the quarter — a first for the industry.
The AP's tally excludes Cox Communications, the third-largest cable company, and a bevy of smaller cable companies. Cox is privately held and does not disclose subscriber numbers.
Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffett estimates that the subscription-TV industry, including the untallied cable companies, lost 380,000 subscribers in the quarter. That's about one out of every 300 U.S. households, and more than twice the losses in the second quarter of last year. Ian Olgeirson at SNL Kagan puts the number even higher, at 425,000 to 450,000 lost subscribers.
The second quarter is always the year's worst for cable and satellite companies, as students cancel service at the end of the spring semester. Last year, growth came back in the fourth quarter. But looking back over the past 12 months, the industry is still down, by Moffett's estimate. That's also a first.
The subscription-TV industry is no longer buoyed by its first flush of growth, so the people who cancel because they're unemployed are outweighing the very small number of newcomers who've never had cable or satellite before. Dish CEO Joe Clayton told analysts on a conference call Tuesday that the industry is "increasingly saturated."
But like other industry executives, Clayton sees renewed growth around the corner. Though his company saw the biggest increase in subscriber flight compared with a year ago, he blamed much of that on a strategic pullback in advertising, which will be reversed before the end of the year.
Other executives gave few indications that the industry has hit a wall. For most of the big companies, the slowdown is slight, hardly noticeable except when looking across all of them. Nor do they believe Internet video is what's causing people to leave.
Glenn Britt, the CEO of Time Warner Cable Inc. said the effect of Internet video on the number of cable subscribers is "very, very modest;" in fact, so small that it's hard to measure.
SNL Kagan's Olgeirson said the people canceling subscriptions behind, or never signing up, are an elusive group, difficult to count. Yet he believes the trend is real, and he calls it the "elephant in the room" for the industry.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that young, educated people who aren't interested in live programs such as sports are finding it easier to go without cable. Video-streaming sites like Netflix.com and Hulu.com are helping, as they run many popular TV shows for free, sometimes the day after they air on television.
In June, The Nielsen Co. said it found that Americans who watch the most video online tend to watch less TV. The ratings agency said it started noticing last fall that a segment of consumers were starting to make a trade-off between online video and regular TV. The activity was more pronounced among people ages 18-34.
Olgeirson expects programmers to keep tightening access to shows and movies online. A few years ago, Olgeirson said, "they threw open the doors," figuring they'd make money from ads accompanying online video besides traditional sources such as the fees they charge cable companies to carry their channels. But if it looks as if online video might endanger revenue from cable, which is still far larger, they'll pull back.
"Are they really going to jeopardize that? The answer is no," Olgeirson said.
Already, News Corp.'s Fox broadcasting company is delaying reruns on Hulu by a week unless the viewer pays a $8-a-month subscription for Hulu Plus or subscribes to Dish's satellite TV service. Other subscription-TV providers may join in the future. TV producers and distributors want to discourage people from dropping their subscriptions.
Moffett believes it's hard to separate the effect of the economy from that of Internet video. Subscription-TV providers keep raising rates because content providers such as Hollywood studios and sports leagues demand ever higher prices. That's causing a collision with the economic realities of American households.
"Rising prices for pay TV, coupled with growing availability of lower cost alternatives, add to a toxic mix at a time when disposable income isn't growing," Moffett said.

brandenpro
08-10-2011, 08:58 PM
As soon as ESPN gets a better online presence that can be accessed through a STB like AppleTV, Popcorn Hour etc I will cut the cord.

Zach.H
08-10-2011, 09:10 PM
As soon as ESPN gets a better online presence that can be accessed through a STB like AppleTV, Popcorn Hour etc I will cut the cord.

My sentiments exactly. I cut the cord a little over 2 years ago, and the main thing I miss is ESPN. I miss the History channel and Discovery as well, but ESPN is harder to live without.

Currently, we have a computer hooked up the TV to display ESPN, and use our iphones as the mouse.

I do have a slingbox hooked up at my parents house for some sporting events, but their upload speed is so slow, the picture quality becomes unwatchable on many programs.

Overall though, the article doesn't surprise me, and I expect more people to jump ship over the next few years.

Even if they went with an a la cart channel system online, I'd be perfectly happy with it.

sirroundsound
08-11-2011, 11:17 AM
I haven't paid for Cable or Satellite for about 8 - 10 years (OK there was a time way back when a little piracy of satellite was easy on this side of the border)
Presently I get around 18 HD channels off air, so I can watch any regular broadcast shows and events. I have Apple TV, so if I wish to pay for a movie or show I can at my leisure. And I have a small Revo computer running Boxee. I can go on line and find and download tons of movies and shows with relative ease. Only thing missing are some sports, which I think if I get off my butt and subscribe to Setanta sports I will fill that gap.

I have asked my wife and son and both agree that there really isn't anything (other than the soccer/rugby) we are missing. We may not be able to always watch some shows until 1 or 2 nights later when they are available on line, but we just organize our viewing schedule around that.
Up here we cannot get Hulu, so I had to look around a bit before I found a download site that really has just about everything.

jimstolz76
08-15-2011, 10:41 PM
We've come SO close to dropping DirecTV... if my panny plasma monitor had a tuner in it we probably already would have.... :)

mr2channel
08-15-2011, 11:10 PM
I cut the cord a while back and do not regret it one bit, as long as you are not a sports nut, and don't mind getting content a bit slower than when it is released on cable/dss, the flip side is I get WAY more to choose from than I EVER got from directv, and its cheaper, and I do like to save $$:D

Pilgrim
08-16-2011, 01:33 AM
My wife spends her time watching netflix.

I watch the History channel,the Discovery channel,Speed channel,ESPN,and the Science Channel..........

I guess our $150 cable bill is my fault.......for five frickin' channels!

Actually,$50 of that is for internet so,it's only $100 ;)

It's out of hand but pretty cheap compared to the cell phone bill.....
$255 for 3 phones with internet access :(

AudibleSolutions
08-16-2011, 07:10 AM
Mike speaks to the problem. Your cable bill is for 300 channels but you watch, maybe 10. Yet you are not permitted an a la carte selection. Why did HDMI 1.4 bring HDCP to the Internet? 2-3 years watch as you are able to download pay to view, individual shows, including some sporting event, but NOT ESPN. I just finished the history of ESPN and what led to ESPN's dominating sports programing? Cable subscriber fees. Unlike the networks they received basic cable channel royalties that they were able to increase to about 4/subscriber over time. Then they sold traditional advertising. The networks only had advertising to base their business plan.

Each time ABC was sold --first to Capital Cities and then to Disney the buyer did not want ABC. They valued ESPN and accepted ABC as part of the deal, even though ABC was the parent company. There is no way ESPN does anything to harm their Golden goose.

jayson
08-16-2011, 08:23 AM
Only a matter of time before all ISPs go to usage based billing.

mr2channel
08-16-2011, 08:44 AM
Only a matter of time before all ISPs go to usage based billing.
how dare you even speak those words!;)

jayson
08-16-2011, 09:04 AM
how dare you even speak those words!;)

They will have no choice. This is at a student loft building where move ins have just started, most of the units are still vacant.

http://www.integrationpros.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=3070&stc=1&d=1313499809

TonyAngelo
08-16-2011, 02:05 PM
As soon as ESPN gets a better online presence that can be accessed through a STB like AppleTV, Popcorn Hour etc I will cut the cord.

ESPN is the MTV of sports, all style no substance.

There are so many quality outlets for sports news and information online that are free that I almost never watch ESPN these days and certainly wouldn't miss it if I never saw it again.

Zach.H
08-16-2011, 02:30 PM
ESPN is the MTV of sports, all style no substance.

There are so many quality outlets for sports news and information online that are free that I almost never watch ESPN these days and certainly wouldn't miss it if I never saw it again.

I'm not as interested in the news on ESPN as I I am the live sporting events. I'd actually like it if Fox Sports had a better online presence as well, for live events(especially Big12).

ESPN3 does cover quite a bit, but the picture quality is lacking overall, even with a 5mb/s download.

AudibleSolutions
08-16-2011, 10:40 PM
They will have no choice. This is at a student loft building where move ins have just started, most of the units are still vacant.

http://www.integrationpros.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=3070&stc=1&d=1313499809
What are they watching on Monday and Friday? When I was young and dumb I was either in the library, student cafeteria arguing or hoping to get lucky. My daughers watch many of their favorite shows on line. Picture quality doesn't matter.

As for ESPN, they control most live sporting events--though since I'm not a great fan of college sports, basketball or NASCAR I don't seem to watch it much. I'll see a playoff game and I certainly enjoy March Madness but you'll not see it for free and you'll not see it on the Internet till HDCP is in effect.

floydbob
08-17-2011, 10:43 AM
They will have no choice. This is at a student loft building where move ins have just started, most of the units are still vacant.

http://www.integrationpros.org/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=3070&stc=1&d=1313499809

Ooooh! MRTG....

jayson
08-17-2011, 10:50 AM
Ooooh! MRTG....

Indeed.

floydbob
08-17-2011, 02:54 PM
Indeed.

It's a wonderful thing. I just need a router that supports SNMP. It was nice using real Cisco routers.

jayson
08-17-2011, 05:34 PM
It's a wonderful thing. I just need a router that supports SNMP. It was nice using real Cisco routers.

There is nothing nice about using Cisco anything. I am convinced that Cisco guys must have mental issues beyond mine, and I am far from sane.

Did I derail another thread?

mr2channel
08-17-2011, 11:38 PM
Roku adds Directv NFL ticket...

Capping off refreshes and streaming deals, Roku raises $8M

Michelle Clancy ©RapidTVNews | 15-08-2011

Roku has raised $8 million in a new round of funding, no doubt given wings by the recent news that it would overhaul its three set-top boxes for online video streaming to the TV, while bringing Angry Birds to the living room.
Investors can see the competitive advantage in the Roku 2 boxes, which retain the same pricing as the earlier generation, but they’re palm-sized, and they all have 802.11n, Bluetooth 3.0, microSD slots and an HDMI output. The HD ($59.99) has a 720p HD resolution; the XD ($79.99) has full 1080p; and the XS ($99.99) has 1080p, but adds an Ethernet port, USB port for sideloading content and the piece du resistance, a free copy of Angry Birds. A new $30 motion sensor-based enhanced remote is available for a "casual gaming" experience. While Angry Birds is the first title to be included, more games are coming, Roku said.
Roku allows users to grab content from the Web and stream it to their televisions; they can choose from a variety of channels, like Netflix Watch Instantly, Amazon Video on Demand, Hulu Plus, Crackle, YouTube, MLB and news. The refresh caps off a few months of positive development for the company, including a big distribution deal with Best Buy and the news that DirecTV's premium Sunday Ticket NFL package, AOL HD and WealthTV would all be added to the Roku lineup.
Subscriptions are also available for NBA, NHL and UFC sports. It also offers music and social networking from Last.fm, Sirius XM, Facebook, Picasa and Pandora, among others. Users browse and use an included remote to click and add the channels they wish to use. Both rental and purchases are enabled; and between Netflix and Amazon VOD the library of available rental titles is prodigious.
This round of investors, the fourth for the company, includes Google's vice president of TV and film entertainment, Robert Kyncl, Menlo Ventures and Globespan Capital Partners, plus Roku CEO Anthony Wood, CFO Oliver Hutaff and vice president of business development Jim Funk.


Read more: Capping off refreshes and streaming deals, Roku raises $8M | News | Rapid TV News (http://www.rapidtvnews.com/index.php/2011081514337/capping-off-product-refreshes-and-streaming-deals-roku-raises-8m.html#ixzz1VLdgp9Ij) http://www.rapidtvnews.com/index.php/2011081514337/capping-off-product-refreshes-and-streaming-deals-roku-raises-8m.html#ixzz1VLdgp9Ij