Recently DISH, Disney, and Fubo all reported earnings for the 2nd quarter of 2023. Combined, these three companies lost 315,000 subscribers to their live TV streaming services. So exactly what is happening, and why is cord cutting losing subscribers?
First, let’s take a look at the numbers in depth:
Fubo reported their 2nd quarter 2023 earnings and posted a loss of 118,000 subscribers in just three months. In total, Fubo has 1,167,000 subscribers in North America, down from 1,285,000 subscribers at the end of the 1st quarter of 2023.
Sling TV reportedly lost 97,000, and DISH lost 197,000 subscribers. In total, DISH now has 8,904,000 pay TV customers between the two brands, down from 9,988,000 during the same period in 2022. Sling TV now has 2 million subscribers, and DISH has 6.90 million subscribers.
Disney reported that Hulu lost 100,000 live TV subscribers to a total of 4.3 million. The total number of streaming video-on-demand customers rose by 300,000 to 44 million.
So why are these services losing subscribers? It seems to be coming down to one of two things. First, cord cutters are switching to a different live TV service that may not report numbers. These could include cheaper services like Philo or even YouTube TV now that it includes NFL Sunday Ticket.
The other issue here is a growing number of cord cutters are deciding live TV streaming services are not worth it for them. Many cord cutters who do not care about sports are switching over to on-demand only services like Disney+, Max, and Paramount+ for cheaper TV options.
During the same period that live TV services lost over 300,000 TV customers, Comcast and Spectrum lost over 740,000 subscribers. Clearly, cord cutters are not going back to cable TV instead, they are deciding to instead just leave traditional live TV services altogether.
This move to cheaper on-demand-only plans seems to be a normal progression of cord cutting. Many cord cutters start with a live TV service to replace cable TV. They quickly figure out that they spend most of their time on on-demand services and decide, much like they did with cable TV they are happy with a cheaper option.
Now as fall sports are about to start, many live TV services are hoping to attract back sports fans. The question now is will that be enough to push their numbers back into the positive range?