Before the onset of the pandemic, Nielsen reported that 69% of Southeast Michigan area households received their television programs from cable systems, telephone companies, or satellite operators. That number, however, is plummeting.
Pay-TV providers in the Detroit area include Xfinity, Dish, AT&T TV, Spectrum, and DirecTV.
"Cord-cutting, people dropping their cable and satellite TV subscriptions, pre-dates the onset of Covid-19. But the pandemic is exaggerating the trend, creating deeper issuers for programming that relies on those services for distribution," Eric Savitz wrote last week in Barron's. This includes non-premium services like ESPN, TBS, TNT, USA, CNN, and Discovery.
"LightShed Partners analyst Richard Greenfield counts a loss of 1.96 million subscribers to cable, satellite TV, and virtual cable services combined in the first quarter," Savitz continued. "This is the worst combined quarterly drop ever, down 6% from a year ago."
Greenfield said in an interview with Barron’s that what is especially sobering is that most of the first quarter activity pre-dated the virus. The numbers are likely to get considerably worse in the second quarter.