How cable TV ratings can affect your cable bill

Hacker News is reporting that the number of cable TV subscribers dropped to an all-time low in 2017, a decrease that has been attributed to lower-than-expected ratings for cable channels such as HBO, Showtime, AMC, Disney and Nickelodeon.

The New York Times, which first reported the decline, notes that cable TV was a popular choice for cable TV viewers who have high incomes, while the number has been on the decline for people who have less income. 

“The decline in cable subscribers reflects the fact that viewers no longer pay for their cable package,” a cable company executive told the Times.

“They now pay for services that cost much less.”

The Times notes that the decline in the number was more pronounced among older households than among younger households.

In fact, a recent report from Nielsen found that the age-adjusted rate of cord-cutters declined by 7.9 percent from 2016 to 2017, while cable subscriptions continued to increase, albeit in a smaller amount.

“While the number fell to an unprecedented low, the number is far from a catastrophe,” the Times reported.

“Indeed, the declines have been much more modest than most predicted, with the median age of those subscribing to cable TV in 2017 falling just over half a year to 30.”

The company cited the declining number of households who subscribe to cable as a factor in the decline.

“The declining number among older and lower-income households was also a factor,” the paper added.

“Among those who do subscribe, the average age dropped to 31, according to Nielsen, which suggests that the increase in the cost of cable could have affected those people more than others.” 

The decline also comes as Comcast has started rolling out its own online streaming service, Xfinity, to customers who have subscribed to the company’s pay-TV packages.

The new service, which costs $40 a month, will be available to customers in the U.S. and Canada starting next month. 

Despite the decline of cable subscribers, the company says that it’s still adding new subscribers. 

For more on this topic, you can read our article on the declining cable ratings.