TV Companies Show Growth in 2011, Cord Cutters Dumbfounded


We keep hearing about all the buzz of cord cutting and how so many people are doing it, and how cable companies should be terrified…and then a report like this comes out.

One past loser became a gainer (DISH, which reported a boost of 58K net new subscribers).  The big losers from last year didn’t lose as big.  (Comcast, which reported a semi-horrific 82K loss in the first quarter of 2010 shrank that by more than half to -39K in 1Q11.)  Among them DIRECTV, Verizon FiOS and AT&T U-verse gained nearly 600,000 and when it all came together, we saw 517,000 net new pay TV subs for the first quarter.


  • For the average person,

    For the average person, cutting the cord is a bit more technical than what they can do.  I know a few people that want to do it but setting up a media computer in their living room to handle the few shows they want to watch puts them off (both from the upfront costs and the software aspect).  In the long run they could save money, but it’s hard for people to justify spending a few hundred dollars putting together hardware to cut the cord without knowing if they actually can live with the cord cut.  It’s a total catch-22.

    I gave my mother-in-law a nice Media Center computer a couple years ago.  At least once a month, I field a call from her about it (usually having walk her through a reboot).  And a few times a year, I have to drive out to her place to work on it.  She’ll decide to dust and unplug things and then plug them back in wrong.  I’ve seen USB and Ethernet cables plugged into holes I didn’t even know they could fit in.  I could build her a system that wouldn’t need a TV signal, but I’d expect I’d have even more headaches trying to keep it running or trying to explain why she has wait 1 day to watch a show after it’s aired.

  • I’m always amused at the cord

    I’m always amused at the cord cutter talk.  A brief review of SNL Kagan’s numbers will show the real story:  The first ever loss in pay TV subscriptions in the US happened in Q2 2010, with a subsequent decline in Q3 2010, for a total loss of about 335,000 subscribers.  Q4 2010 gained 65,000 subscribers back, leaving a loss of only 270,000 subscribers for the final 3 quarters of 2010 (and I’m not even including the Q1 2010 gain of 481,000 subscribers).  And the preliminary numbers from all the Q1 2011 earnings calls indicate a strong rebound in the industry, one that should entirely erase the loss previously sustained.

    The truth is, it was just a brief bump in a rough economy.  And it wasn’t even very significant.  IMO, 335,000 out of 100,000,000 is not really significant enough to warrant all the coverage.

  • I am a cord cutter but as

    I am a cord cutter but as soon as SD comes out with their tuner I’ll be signing up for the cheapest cable package that has HD.