Nielsen’s estimate of the number of pay-TV homes is down another 0.8% in October, continuing a trend that is troubling for TV networks.
According to an analysis by Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research, the October drop appears small, until a 1.7% increase in Nielsen’s total homes estimate in September is figured in. In any case, Wieser said, the October figure represents a slight acceleration from the 0.7% decline estimated for September.
Individual cable network household penetration fell 0.3%. That might indicate that cord shaving might be diminishing as a trend, Wieser said.
Nielsen’s data is useful but not the actual number of subscribers used by networks and operators to determine fees. But Wieser notes that over the longer term, the trends noted by Nielsen are likely to be reflected in network subscription revenue.
Among the networks showing the biggest drops in October, according to Nielsen, were Viacom’s Spike and CMT, and Disney’s ESPN2 and ESPN.
The gainers included Discovery’s Velocity, Fox’s FXM and Fox Sports 2.
Among 119 measured networks 52 showed some subscriber growth.
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