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Finally U.S. Cable Co Admits OTA is Taking Away Customers

It seems cable companies have been in denial over the issue of customers leaving cable and moving to over-the-air TV.

Journalists seem to be trying to spot a trend of people cutting cable and moving instead to the internet for TV.

In my family, when we cut the cable, we moved 85% to OTA and maybe 15% to the internet.

http://www.hdtvmagazine.com/columns/2010/10/hdtv-expert-cordcutting-funny-thing-about-that.php

Here is a story where a cable executive acknowledges that the digital transition does explain some of the loss of cable subscribers.
 

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Same here. Teksavvy for internet, and OTA for telelvision along with some internet content on a HTPC and Netflix content.
 

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I think the article is ignoring the impact of IPTV providers like Verizon which added 204,000 subscribers and AT&T 236,000. The top 4 cable cos. that report subs lost 518,300. DirecTV added 174,000 subscribers in the quarter and Dish lost 29,000. In all, the net gain for the pay-TV industry was about 67,000.

http://www.fierceiptv.com/story/aft...bscribers-iptv-adds-440000-so-what/2010-11-09

It sounds like Comcast would rather blame the economy than admit they are losing most of their subs to the competition. Obviously some are going OTA or OTT with services like HULU, Apple TV and Netflix, but the majority are going to IPTV.
 

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I'm perhaps a bit behind the times when it comes to some of the pay tv options. I was tired of my Rogers cable price increases. I don't see any benefit swapping my Rogers bill for a Bell Satellite or Bell FibeTV bill. I'm still paying around the same for TV that I can get for free over-the-air. I can see why Rogers doesn't want me to switch to another PayTV provider, but how does it benefit me if I'm just swapping a red bill for a blue bill?

Are thes IPTV services cheaper than cable?

We have subscribed to Netflix for now for $8/month. Lots of kids TV shows. But I don't even know if we're getting $8/month worth of value even out of that. I guess we're not huge TV watchers. When we want TV we turn on the OTA and watch whatever the best thing is to watch.

What is so special about IPTV for the consumer? Is it cheaper than cable? Is it that if you subscribe you can watch it on your TV and on your Cell phone? Couldn't Rogers figure out a way to do that, too?
 

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The OTA forum isn't the place to compare Rogers and Bell. IPTV is another competitor to cable particularly for people that can't or don't want to use satellite.

We can see the sub losses for the U.S. cable giants, but we don't know how many are going OTA. The only thing we can measure are the number going to the competition.
 

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Good point. I am one of those people. I love my OTA. With my free TV I still have more than I need. I can't see myself paying for TV channels no matter how it's packaged or delivered.
 

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Hulu, netflix, OTA, downloads.. eating into Cable revenue like Cable VoIP cut into traditional telco revenues. You gotta wonder the long term survivability of cable companies.
 

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I follow the cable and satellite stats every quarter.

On a year over year basis, basic cable subscriptions are still increasing in Canada. You would expect that since the number of households in Canada continues to increase. I don't know if the rate of household formation is more or less than the rate of increase in basic cable subs.

Americans have more alternatives than Canadians and more robust alternatives when they exist (OTA, HULU, iTunes, Netflix) so maybe people are switching to combination of Hulu/OTA/Torrents/Netflix) because they can?

While alternatives are significant, I think the real reason is the recession is really hurting Americans.

500,000 Households is about 0.4 to 0.5% of households. With Unemployment in the U.S up to almost 10% from under 5% a few years ago, its not surprising many have dropped their cable service.

The other thing is foreclosures, literally thousands and thousands of houses now sit empty in the U.S. because they have been foreclosed. All those houses probably cut the cable cord too!

I wouldn't be surprised to see cable numbers growing again as unemployment falls south of the border
 

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Excellent article. And certainly disputes (as mentioned) like the Cablevision-Fox one in the greater metropolitan NYC area (where FOX has been dropped by the cable company over carriage fees) have added to the antenna TV cause. Hardware companies like Antennas Direct have taken advantage of situations like this.
 

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Based on this link, the U.S. cable cos. lost a total of 711,000 subs. The other providers added 495,000 subscribers (mainly telco and some satellite). The net loss of paid TV was 216,000 subs. This article probably includes the losses by Cox Cable (which is private and doesn't report its subs) and some of the mid-size cable cos.

Another interesting factor:
SNL Kagan analyst Mariam Rondeli was careful not to read too much into those numbers when I talked to her on the phone today, saying that much of those losses seem to be attributable to customers who subscribed to pay TV early last year due to the broadcast digital transition. Now these customers see the prices for their introductory packages going up, and quite a few of them have decided not to stick around.
 

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It's hard to tell what's actually happening because the data seems to conflict and habits are changing so rapidly. Anecdotally, I work with a number of younger people and based on their media habits, in the long term, cable is in trouble. None of them 'watch TV' anymore - they combine streaming sources like Netflix, free streams from CITY TV/CTV/grey Hulu and, massively, copies of pirated downloads (the piracy estimates often don't take into account how many times a download is copied or re-streamed using services like Zumocast after download). Many of my younger colleagues can't name a single TV network when I ask them.

My own content access habits have changed dramatically in the last two years, shifting to streaming and, to a lesser extent, OTA and even YouTube. Top end series I only watch in Blu Ray form, e.g. I don't even think about viewing something like Breaking Bad through a broadcast source (And this too will gradually be replaced by streaming - I chuckle every time I file a DVD into the storage bin that already holds many, many CDs - my own Museum of Dead Media)

If it wasn't for live sports, I'd seriously think of ditching Shaw. One day, maybe when the NFL completes its slow disintermediation of the networks, I just might.
 

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CNET article

Hopefully this is the correct place to post this but, here is another pay TV customer shifting to to OTA TV...


"Diary of a cable TV cord cutter: Day 1"

http://news.cnet.com/8301-17938_105-20022909-1.html?tag=TOCcarouselMain.0
Preparing for life after cable
I needed a TV solution that was easy and reliable. My first thought was the combination of over-the-air (OTA) HDTV with the Channel Master CM-7000PAL DVR. Provided I could get solid reception at my home nearly 40 miles from the main broadcast tower at the Empire State Building, we'd have all of the major networks with excellent video quality and not have to go into DVR withdrawal, or pay a monthly fee to TiVo.
 

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Unfortunately, I can't get CBS over the air from my location right now.
Maybe he needs to stop by here sometime for some advice?
He does mention using tvfool, if he provided an example of his,
wonder how much advice he would get in the comments from
other cnet readers?
 

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I can see cable companies starting to worry. If networks continue adding subs such as music, retro, weather ad i hear maybe science this would all but kill cable in the cities and make it just a rural thing. Then who would hold the upper hand for fees. With cable and sattellite companies dropping locals, good for them, they introduce more people to OTA and put themselves further into the farm country.
 

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We are in the US and kicked DirectTV to the curb last September.
I installed a U8000 on the chimney and find it gives me excellent, but limited programming.

We tried the HULU paid subscription, but found out it mostly sucks. We still had to endure their commercials, and spotty coverage. What good is having most of the Quantum Leap installments, if one doesn't have the ending?

The HULU servers were radically overloaded, and choked constantly. I'm on a 6mb connection..

We kicked HULU to the curb, and find NetFlix so much more professional and easy to use. OTA picture quality far exceeds everything I get from NetFlix.

All in all, a non-cable installation is "fiddly".
I miss cable news, but not enough to go back to $69+ per month.
 
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