clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Partnering with Netflix and Hulu hasn’t stopped pay TV providers from losing customers

Declines in traditional TV subscriptions are growing faster than expected.

A family watching a boxing match on television in their home, circa 1950. Camerique/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Rani Molla is a senior correspondent at Vox and has been focusing her reporting on the future of work. She has covered business and technology for more than a decade — often in charts — including at Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal.

Keeping their enemies close doesn’t seem to be working for TV providers.

Recently, pay TV companies have begun offering bundles that included subscriptions to their online competitors. You could, for example, get a discount for Netflix through your Comcast-enabled TV. The idea was that pay TV subscribers would get seamless and less-expensive access to internet TV services through their TV provider, which would give them incentive to keep TV subscriptions. About half of U.S. households pay for both TV and an over-the-top provider like Netflix.

So far, that’s not happening.

Declines in pay TV subscriptions have exceeded previous estimates.

Indeed, the number of cord-cutters in the U.S. is expected to increase 33 percent this year to 33 million, according to eMarketer. Last year, the research firm had predicted a 22 percent rise in people who have canceled their pay TV service, but have since had to revise that estimate upward.

In turn, YouTube, Netflix, Amazon and Hulu viewership have increased, thanks to demand for original programming across multiple services.

Meanwhile, 186.7 million U.S. adults will watch pay TV (cable, satellite or telco) this year, down 4 percent from 2017. That’s slightly higher than the previous 3.4 percent dip the year before.

Playing nice by making it easier to subscribe to Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and YouTube won’t stall pay TV’s decline.

This article originally appeared on