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Cord cutters to eclipse pay TV viewers by the end of 2023



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CORD CUTTERS TO ECLIPSE PAY TV VIEWERS BY THE END OF 2023

For the first time ever, viewers who do not pay for traditional TV services will outnumber those who do, according to data from research firm Insider Intelligence.

Media companies have long been grappling with a decline in their linear TV business as customers cut the cord in favor of streamers including Netflix NFLX.O and Disney+ DIS.N.

The number of non-pay TV viewers, which includes cord-cutters and cord-nevers, is expected to increase by 12.5% to 144.1 million by the end of 2023.

Meanwhile, traditional pay TV viewership is set to decline by 10.2% to 121.1 million.

"Regardless of how one defines pay TV, there is an unmistakable attrition in the number of people who are willing to pay upwards of $100 a month for a live TV bundle," said Insider Intelligence analyst Paul Verna.

"The cord cutters have won."

Traditional pay TV viewers began what seems like an irreversible decline in 2014, and the research firm sees non-pay TV viewers to effectively double traditional pay TV viewers by 2027.

"The second-biggest cable TV provider in the U.S., Charter Communications, essentially acknowledged this during its recent carriage dispute with Disney", Verna added.

"Other top pay TV providers like Comcast and DirecTV will also need to accelerate their transitions from traditional pay TV to internet delivery to support the migration to streaming."

Charter CHTR.O Chief Executive Chris Winfrey said in September that the "video ecosystem is broken" and that over the last five years alone the linear video industry has lost nearly a staggering 25 million customers, which is almost 25% of total industry customers.

The company was embroiled in a dispute with Walt Disney earlier this year, with ESPN, FX and other channels from the House of Mickey Mouse disappearing from its service on Aug. 31 following a dispute over channel fees and how to package them. Programming resumed after the companies eventually struck a deal.

Disney CEO Bob Iger has also said that the company is evaluating options with regard to its profitable but declining television business, as traditional cable and satellite distributors continue to lose subscribers.

Disney is also seeking investors in ESPN, as it prepares to make its flagship sports network available via streaming at some point in the future.

(Samrhitha Arunasalam)

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Cord cutters surpass Pay TV viewers this year https://tmsnrt.rs/3GjDtsy

(Terence Gabriel is a Reuters market analyst. The views expressed are his own)

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