812,000 pay-TV subscribers cut cord in the second quarter of 2016

More people are cutting the cord on their pay-television service (Fotolia).
More people are cutting the cord on their pay-television service (Fotolia). Tribune News Service

The flight of pay-TV customers continues.

An estimated 812,000 subscribers pulled the plug on their pay-television service in the second quarter, according to a study by consulting firm SNL Kagan.

The number represents a decline in the number of homes that received a bundle of video channels from a cable, satellite or telephone company compared with the first quarter of 2016.

“It is a bit of an acceleration and the biggest quarterly loss that we’ve seen,” Ian Olgeirson, an analyst with SNL Kagan, said Monday in an interview. “We are seeing a gradual increase in the decline rate.”

The year-over-year number was more startling. There were nearly 1.4 million fewer pay-TV subscribers in the second quarter of 2016 compared with the second quarter of 2015.

The April to June quarter tends to be the weakest for the pay-TV industry as students and families move at the end of the school year, canceling their TV subscriptions.

Consumers now have more options. Increasingly, they are drawn to online video services such as Netflix, Amazon.com, Hulu and CBS All Access, which can be more affordable when combined with a broadband Internet subscription. Younger users are just as comfortable watching shows on phones and tablets as they are watching them on TVs.

Cable-TV operators have shown strength in the last two years but still experienced a net loss of 298,000 subscribers in the second quarter, the SNL Kagan report found.