Cord-cutting saws into US pay-TV market | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Triple-play for US service providers is becoming triple cord-cutting, according to research from Ovum that has identified subscriber declines spreading from fixed voice to TV and broadband.

Comcast xfinity 17 Nov 2016 optThe analyst’s third quarter subscriber growth figures for fixed voice, fixed broadband and pay-TV for the US, as captured in its World Broadband Information Service (WBIS), noted that a triple cord-cutting threat continues to loom over the US, with the loss of subscribers in all three core fixed services.

Among the largest US telcos, AT&T and Windstream continued to see declines in all three services, while Frontier posted a decline in the two services it offers. CenturyLink and Consolidated Communications are at risk, with declines in two out of three services. Even mega provider Verizon showed a couple of quarters of decline in fixed broadband and very low pay-TV subscriber growth.

In the US pay-TV sector, Cincinnati Bell and CenturyLink were among the few bright spots, with both registering growth in Q3 2016. Ovum added that except for Cablevision, which was recently acquired by Altice, cable companies fared better. Charter, Comcast and Mediacom all posted growth in fixed broadband and fixed voice but the latter two continued to lose pay-TV subscribers, while Comcast recently started to show a growth trend. Cablevision falls into the triple cord-cutting category, with declines in pay-TV and fixed voice and no growth in fixed broadband.

Ovum warned that triple cord-cutting masked growth in next-generation broadband and shifts to more cost-efficient platforms. It gave as an example AT&T continuing to deploy FTTP in multiple cities and moving from U-verse to DirecTV for its pay-TV platform. In addition, it observed that some operators are being more selective, in terms of credit worthiness, in targeting customers, citing that as a reason for their subscriber declines.

“Cord-cutting started in landlines and gave way to cord-cutting in pay-TV in the US,” commented Ovum senior analyst Kristin Paulin. “We are now entering the realm of triple cord-cutting. This is the reason why US service providers are diversifying their business away from their core services towards the path of becoming digital service providers. This is also the reason why M&A is likely to continue in the US market.”

For fellow senior analyst Kamalini Ganguly, triple cord-cutting represented a shift in communications services, and advised service providers to chart new service, bundling and pricing strategies as they now have an opportunity to explore new types of services – such as own-OTT video services and via partnerships. “Own-OTT video services are sometimes bundled with the core fixed broadband service, allowing service providers to retain some core services while introducing new revenue streams,” she said. “However, the triple cord-cutting trend also shows why it is important to have a relationship with mobile – whether owned or as an MVNO – for future services. Ovum is tracking new types of bundles with mobile broadband.”
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