Cord cutting/shaving accelerated in May, with pay-TV down 2.2 percent in U.S. homes, year-over-year, and cable networks off 3.2 percent in terms of subscriptions, according to Nielsen data worked over by Pivotal Research analyst Brian Wieser.
In a note to investors obtained by Broadcasting & Cable, the analyst said cable networks had been down around only around 2 percent year-over-year in subscriptions lately.
"These figures suggest trends around 'cord-shaving' may be accelerating," Wieser said. "We note that affiliate fees are not necessarily impacted in the short-term as distributors will often be obliged to pay for certain minimum subscriber levels. However, over longer time horizons we think that the trends captured by Nielsen are likely to be reflected in the subscriber numbers that programmers get paid for."
According to Wieser, Disney's networks — which include ESPN and the Disney Channel — led all decliners in May, dropping 4.1 percent. ESPNU had the steepest drop at 4.7 percent.
Viacom networks lost 3.6 percent of their subscribers, with CMT down 5.2 percent.
Fox, however, lost only 0.7 percent of subs for its channels, with FX Movie Channel, Fox Deportes, Fox Sports 2 and FXX all reporting growth.
Wall Street, of course, is watching subscriber numbers carefully for both media networks and pay-TV operators, fearful of the number of consumers checking out of the pay-TV ecosystem.
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