As the broader markets casually melt-up to new record highs with each passing day, one small corner of the equity market is in full on meltdown mode: cable and satellite pay-tv providers. Down anywhere from 3-10% on the week, investors in this space seem to be finally admitting that record subscriber losses, quarter after quarter, just may end up being a bad thing.
As Bloomberg points out this morning, pay-tv subscriber losses are expected to set a new record in 2017, surpassing the 1.7mm homes that “cut the cord” in 2016, as industry analyst Craig Moffet warns “it is becoming increasingly clear that the wheels are falling off…”
Barring a major fourth-quarter comeback, 2017 is on course to be the worst year for conventional pay-TV subscriber losses in history, surpassing last year’s 1.7 million, according to Bloomberg Intelligence. That figure doesn’t include online services like DirecTV Now. Even including those digital plans, the five biggest TV providers are projected to have lost 469,000 customers in the third quarter.
AT&T sank 6.1 percent, the biggest one-day loss since November 2008. Dish, which also provides satellite service, declined 5.1 percent. Viacom dropped 2.5 percent while AMC Networks Inc. fell 6.8 percent after Guggenheim Securities LLC downgraded the two stocks to neutral from buy.
Dallas-based AT&T is pushing headlong into TV programming by acquiring HBO and CNN owner Time Warner Inc. in an $85.4 billion deal. Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson has argued that the acquisition will let AT&T create compelling video packages for mobile subscribers and provide valuable targeting information for advertisers.
‘It is becoming increasingly clear that the wheels are falling off of satellite TV,’ said Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, in a research note.
This post was published at Zero Hedge on Oct 13, 2017.