Traditional Pay TV Lost 455K Net Subs in Q3: Analyst

Noting that the overall cord-cutting trends “simply weren’t all that interesting” in Q3, MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett said traditional U.S. pay TV providers posted a net sub loss of about 455,000 in the quarter, relatively flat from the 432,000 lost in the year-ago period.

The overall rate of decline, at 1.3%, was also about the same year-over-year.

And despite the “bombast” over DirecTV Now, to launch later this month, and Hulu’s virtual MVPD service coming in Q1 2017, Q3 was otherwise “relatively quiet,” Moffett explained in his Q3 2016 Cord-Cutting Monitor report.

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“With new household formation also almost the same as last year, there simply aren’t a lot of big takeaways in this quarter’s data,” he added, but noted that there’s a “bit of trepidation about what lies ahead.”

DirecTV Now, if it sticks with a proposed $35 per month base price, could mean there’s “very significant acceleration ahead”  with respect to cord-cutting trends

“AT&T is taking its content partners for a dance on the edge of a cliff,” wrote Moffett.  “It is next quarter, and the quarter after, than will matter.”

He also said the cord-cutting trend is as much about supply as it is about demand.  

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“There is no question that there are an awful lot of Americas who would gladly switch to OTT if they could pay less for their video entertainment than they do today (what a revelation, no?). But the real question, as ever, is when will be see services offerings that oblige?...DirecTV Now might just be that service offering. And if it’s not, there are seemingly a list of others waiting to try on the role.”

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