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Time Warner Cable’s Q4 2011 earnings contain a shocking harbinger of doom for the broadcast and cable TV industry: It lost 129,000 TV subscribers last quarter alone.
Sure, that’s not a large number on its own—TWC still has 11.9 million residential subscribers. But put that next to the recent Credit Suisse report that estimated 200,000 fewer homes would subscribe to pay TV in 2012.
Looks like that 200,000 nationwide estimate may be way too low.TWC’s business TV subscriptions were no help—they’re flat.
TWC did see growth in its various internet and data services. Unsurprisingly, TWC also saw lower usage of video-on-demand.
It all suggests that America is unsubscribing from TV in droves and watching shows and movies for free on the web. In other words, the web is about to do to TV what it already did to newspapers.
The only people who don’t understand this tectonic shift in media habits, however, are the management of Time Warner Cable. Here’s what they had to say about the viewer defections, per Ad Age:
Time Warner Cable said today that web-based video still isn’t having a huge impact on its video subscribers, saying those services are “not a substitute at this point.”
Here’s the chart:
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