In context: The cable TV industry isn’t performing very well amidst the Covid-19 pandemic. AT&T lost an astounding 900,000 cable subscribers in the first quarter of 2020, and now, Comcast has reported significant losses of its own for Q2.
In an earnings report published today, Comcast claimed that it lost 477,000 pay-TV subscribers over the past three months. That number isn’t nearly as significant as AT&T’s losses, but it’s still not an easy blow for Comcast to ignore, especially since the company’s quarterly cable TV losses only seem to be growing.
In Q1 2020, roughly 409,000 subscribers pulled the plug on their Comcast-provided cable subscriptions — this last quarter, the corporate giant managed to lose substantially more.
If these losses continue to grow at this rate, Comcast may be on track to lose twice as many cable subscribers this year as it did last year. For reference, the company took a hit of around 733,000 cable subscribers in 2019, and it has already dropped significantly more than that (around 886,000 customers) in 2020.
There are plenty of reasons for these mass subscriber losses, but Covid-19 is likely chief among them. Thousands of Americans have lost their jobs due to coronavirus complications (including business shutdowns). Even many who haven’t are now working from home, giving them more free time to explore alternatives to cable TV, such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and others.
Comcast may be suffering in the cable arena, but its internet business is performing quite well. It managed to snag around 323,000 additional broadband customers in Q2 2020: the “best second quarter high-speed internet net adds in 13 years,” according to the company.
It remains to be seen whether Comcast’s cable TV business will bounce back as the world begins to recover from Covid-19, but we’ll keep you updated on the situation moving forward.