Traditional Providers Losses, the entire year of 2023 Edition

Bruce

Bender and Chloe, the real Members of the Year
Original poster
Supporting Founder
Lifetime Supporter
Nov 29, 2003
15,125
19,391
The year was not as bad for all of Paid Live TV, a prediction of over 6 Million did not happen thanks to YTTV, who had gains of 1.9 Million for the year and overtook Dish Network, they are now the #4 Provider, by the end of 2024, should overtake DirecTV for the #3 slot.

But it was still bad for Traditional Providers ( Cable/Satellite), they had a net loss of about 6,930,000 subscribers in 2023 – compared to a net loss of about 6,260,000 in 2022.

Also this shows why RSNs are having issues, the three main services that carries them, DirecTV, Comcast, Charter/Spectrum lost almost 6 Million combined, that means the same amount of per sub fees gone from the RSNs ( plus from the smaller services losses).

That means minus Dish Network Sub numbers from the total of Traditional Providers, then how many have cheaper packages like Entertainment with DirecTV, RSNs only have about 40 Million paying the per sub fee, so at this rate of losses, all of them will be unprofitable by the end of 2025, cannot beat the math.

The total is, Paid Live TV is down only 5 Million, thanks to YTTV.

 
  • Like
Reactions: djont57
Broadband numbers are out if anyone is interested-


Fixed Wireless up 3.8 Million, total is now 7.8 Million.
 
This might help explain why Comcast lost over 2 Million subscribers in 2023.

Comcast has raised the price of its broadcast TV fee to $31.25 a month on top of the advertised price. You will also find in many areas a $9.10 RSN fee.

Those are not the only fees Comcast charges. Other fees include a regulatory cost recovery fee, rental fee, state universal service fund, franchise fee, federal universal service fund, and—if you live in California—there is a California public purpose fund.

Other costs include taxes and government fees like athletic Fee, federal excise tax, local utility user tax, public, educ, and government fee, state and local communication service taxes, gross receipts tax, sales tax, and state excise tax. These taxes and fees change depending on where you live and could, for example if you live in Colorado, include a Colorado Retail Delivery Fee.


So I am pricing in, at least, over $50 in fees even before the package price and bo:mad:s) rental.

I know some get a discount off the package price when you bundle, no one gets a discount on the fees.

 
  • Angry
Reactions: MikeD-C05 and ncted
This might help explain why Comcast lost over 2 Million subscribers in 2023.

Comcast has raised the price of its broadcast TV fee to $31.25 a month on top of the advertised price. You will also find in many areas a $9.10 RSN fee.

Those are not the only fees Comcast charges. Other fees include a regulatory cost recovery fee, rental fee, state universal service fund, franchise fee, federal universal service fund, and—if you live in California—there is a California public purpose fund.

Other costs include taxes and government fees like athletic Fee, federal excise tax, local utility user tax, public, educ, and government fee, state and local communication service taxes, gross receipts tax, sales tax, and state excise tax. These taxes and fees change depending on where you live and could, for example if you live in Colorado, include a Colorado Retail Delivery Fee.


So I am pricing in, at least, over $50 in fees even before the package price and bo:mad:s) rental.

I know some get a discount off the package price when you bundle, no one gets a discount on the fees.


That's ridiculous.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MikeD-C05 and ncted
Cable has no one to blame but themselves for killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Their price hikes and excessive fees made their service unusable to a majority of the people. :oops:
 
  • Like
Reactions: dishdude
Cable has no one to blame but themselves for killing the goose that laid the golden egg. Their price hikes and excessive fees made their service unusable to a majority of the people. :oops:
I'd argue the blame can also be placed on the media companies for forcing more and more channels onto the cable/satellite companies and their customers at the same time they ruined numerous channels by replacing quality programming with drek. It was always going to end badly for that model, and no one was willing to do anything to stop it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: dishdude and Mochuf
I don't have Xfinity here in the Chicago area, but one of my friends does, and he said the RSN fee is ridiculous... I think he said it was over $20 for just the RSN fee. I did a quick Google search and sure enough, it is close to that! Pre-Covid, it was $6.20, in December 2022, it jumped to $18.35. Almost tripled (granted, Marquee Sports Network was added as well).


This was through the price increase at the end of 2022 for the start of 2023 - $18.35. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it is now over $20.
 
I don't have Xfinity here in the Chicago area, but one of my friends does, and he said the RSN fee is ridiculous... I think he said it was over $20 for just the RSN fee. I did a quick Google search and sure enough, it is close to that! Pre-Covid, it was $6.20, in December 2022, it jumped to $18.35. Almost tripled (granted, Marquee Sports Network was added as well).


This was through the price increase at the end of 2022 for the start of 2023 - $18.35. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it is now over $20.
Does your friend watch the RSNs, if not there are plenty of other options.

For example, if the RSN is really $20, plus the broadcast fee and then all those other charges mentioned, fees alone then are as much as YouTube TV.

Also, for the last few years. Comcast ( Charter and as of last year, DirecTV also) have two increases a year, so the price will go up again quite soon.
 
My mom texted me last night to tell me how happy she was I made my parents switch to YTTV from Spectrum. In addition to the lower cost, she loves that she can watch 4 college basketball games simultaneously now that tournament season is here. Also possible with Dish of course, but not at the price she is paying.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MikeD-C05
My mom texted me last night to tell me how happy she was I made my parents switch to YTTV from Spectrum. In addition to the lower cost, she loves that she can watch 4 college basketball games simultaneously now that tournament season is here. Also possible with Dish of course, but not at the price she is paying.
Since YTTV gained 1.9 Million subscribers in 2023 ( now at a reported 8 million), more and more are noticing YTTV at the price point and sticking with it.

It is the only Paid Live TV Provider to constantly gain subs since the other Live TV services started to lose them, now has overtaken Dish as the new #4, will over take Dish and Sling TV combined by the end of the first quarter, should overtake all of DirecTV by the end of the year.

I know most move because of the price and it has a few differences ( no channel numbers is the biggest complaint I have read), but that is overcome because every channel is identified by name in the guide, plus the fact you can change the guide to your liking ( for example move your favorite 10 channels to the top of the guide ).

But, based on the numbers, seems like people stay with it after the switch.
 
I don't have Xfinity here in the Chicago area, but one of my friends does, and he said the RSN fee is ridiculous... I think he said it was over $20 for just the RSN fee. I did a quick Google search and sure enough, it is close to that! Pre-Covid, it was $6.20, in December 2022, it jumped to $18.35. Almost tripled (granted, Marquee Sports Network was added as well).


This was through the price increase at the end of 2022 for the start of 2023 - $18.35. I wouldn't be at all surprised if it is now over $20.
the RSN fee in the Sf Bay is 15.99 on DirecTV, which gives us both NBCS Bay Area (Giants, Warriors) and NBCS California (A's, Sharks, also Kings but blacked out).

It's nuts, but when I see people complaining about MLB charging $15/mo for Dbacks games only, it doesn't feel NEARLY as absurd as it looks on its face. And yes, I still agree that $15/mo is absurd for one team.
 
I'd argue the blame can also be placed on the media companies for forcing more and more channels onto the cable/satellite companies and their customers at the same time they ruined numerous channels by replacing quality programming with drek. It was always going to end badly for that model, and no one was willing to do anything to stop it.
I think we are both right. Add in both yours and my responses and you can see why cable is failing. :smug
 
  • Like
Reactions: ncted and dishdude
Higher production costs are a problem now, but I argue that is a symptom not a cause. Higher quality productions were a lot rarer before the advent of SVOD (Netflix, etc.). HBO and Showtime were the sources for most of the past "prestige" TV shows. Regular network TV would do some miniseries, but for the most part, their production costs were under control. Then comes in the multitude of cable channels and reality TV, both with mostly low-cost programming. Low cost, arguably low quality (to each their own), and high profit. As a result, much higher cable/satellite bills.

To differentiate themselves from that, that is to give people something else to watch, Netflix (and eventually their competitors) decide to be like HBO/Showtime and produce lots of prestige TV, which is expensive. People realize they can get lots of high quality programming for not a lot of money (and no ads at the time) and ditch cable/satellite. To compete with Netflix in the streaming space, the traditional media companies think they need to copy them, so we get Hulu, CBSAA(Paramount+), Disney+, Peacock, AppleTV+, HBOmax, Prime Video, etc. all creating more and more prestige TV. More demand drives up cost which causes those companies to lose more and more money which is unsustainable. Meanwhile, Netflix has been adding the low cost, high profit content their catalog as well. There's some smart cookies running that company.
 
I'd argue the blame can also be placed on the media companies for forcing more and more channels onto the cable/satellite companies and their customers at the same time they ruined numerous channels by replacing quality programming with drek. It was always going to end badly for that model, and no one was willing to do anything to stop it.
Yes, but let's not forget about sports. Sports leagues/conferences have demanded ever-higher rates for broadcast rights -- increases that have far, far outstripped general inflation -- over the past couple of decades. Broadcast and cable channels have eagerly agreed to those rate hikes and then, of course, passed them on to MVPDs via higher network carriage rates, while also forcing as much of that expensive sports content as possible into MVPDs' main channel packages.

I tend to think that sports, more than anything else, is what led to the demise of the cable bundle. Netflix came along and realized that they could create a low-cost on-demand simulation of the cable bundle but without the expensive sports (and news) driving up the cost. That left the far more expensive cable bundle with only major sports fans, news fans, and those unwilling or unable to embrace change as their paying customers.

Netflix's on-demand streaming service started out very much as basic cable TV did, i.e. featuring network TV's sloppy seconds. Netflix was where you went to watch entire broadcast TV series from years past like Lost; Murder, She Wrote; and The Andy Griffith Show, along with last year's season of current shows like Mad Men and Gray's Anatomy. At that time, I subscribed to cable TV (DirecTV satellite) and found little reason to watch Netflix -- it was simply streaming stuff that I had already watched (or could have already watched) on cable.

Then they smartly decided to get into making new prestige original series like House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, exactly the sort of stuff that HBO and Showtime were known for. This made Netflix not just a place for cord-cutters, looking to stream basic cable's hand-me-downs ad-free on the cheap, but also a premium outlet that cable TV subscribers might want to add on top of their cable bundle, just as they did with HBO.

The third phase of Netflix came two or three years later when they decided to broaden their originals, both in scope and sheer volume, to try to become a full-on replacement for cable TV, offering all the same stuff except for sports, news and local content, but in many ways better than traditional cable -- better production values, better picture quality, ad-free, and on-demand. That's when we started seeing Netflix produce decidedly non-HBO-like broad multi-cam sitcoms like Fuller House and The Ranch, along with the cheaper reality, true crime, etc. content that had largely taken over basic cable. They also started pumping out a whole raft of mostly mediocre original movies, although with a sprinkling of quality Oscar bait thrown in.

We are now in a situation where Netflix has firmly entrenched themselves as *the* low-cost general entertainment alternative to the cable bundle and there will probably be no displacing it from that leading position. The major studios behind the faltering cable bundle -- Disney, NBCU, WBD, Paramount -- are now all trying to produce their own successors to the bundle that can join Netflix. There's certainly not room for all of them.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: MikeD-C05 and ncted
With the recent college playoff announced, got to wonder how long the YTTV model will survive. Sports costs are exploding.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MikeD-C05
With the recent college playoff announced, got to wonder how long the YTTV model will survive. Sports costs are exploding.
YTTV model can survive ( yes there will be price increases, but they will be for Cable/Sat. also), it is ESPN you have to worry about, they are the ones making that deal to carry all the playoff’s games, Disney/ESPN knows if they raise the per sub fee too high, there is the risk of losing a provider.

But while some sports rights fees keep going up, some are predicted to go down, MLB for one, ratings are horrendous, for the last 6 years it has been going downward, for example, World Series in 2017 averaged 11 Million Households, 2023 was 4 Million Households.

NHL ratings are not even worth the contracts they have now.

The NBA is not expected to get as big of a national contract as they expected, it will be more, but definitely not the $5-6 Billion they were hoping for.
 
With the recent college playoff announced, got to wonder how long the YTTV model will survive. Sports costs are exploding.
I hope they do explode and take the sports with them. How many years did we pay for them when we didn't like or want sports in normal cable/satellite packs? Let those who want sports pay for them and the rest of us can opt out. :smug
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bobby and dishdude

Netflix Price Increase

Streaming services using linear TV to help with income