Pay TV Services Lose 0.5 Million Subs

Are people unhappy with their pay TV subscriptions? Is the bad economy wiping out the money that people are willing to spend on television entertainment? According to the second quarter earnings reports, the cable and satellite television services lost a net of 553,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year. Only DirecTV picked up a modest 26,000 gain, while Cablevision, Comcast, Time Warner and Dish Network posted significant losses. In the meantime, the telco operations of Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-Verse) gained a net of 184,000 and 202,000 subscribers respectively.

This would be really bad news for the cable and satellite companies if it weren’t for one small detail; Cablevision and DirecTV both showed profits for the quarter. However, the third quarter forecast continues to be glum, and the services are likely to lose just as many subscribers.

Something is going to have to give in the subscription TV market, but it’s not clear what will break first. Competition is stiff, but maybe these economic woes will accelerate a move to the a la carte pricing that might bring customers back with a more affordable price tag.