Nielsen’s cable universe estimates for April show a 1.7% decline in pay TV households, but a bigger drop in subscribers for some cable network owners, according to analyst Brian Wieser of Pivotal Research.
To Weiser that suggests that, while cord-cutting might not be the threat it was cracked to be, cord shaving could be a bigger issue.
It appears to be a particularly serious issue for The Walt Disney Co., whose networks were down 3.6% in April after being down 3.6% in March, and for Viacom, which was down 3.1% for the second straight month.
“Affiliate fees are not necessarily impacted in the short-term as distributors will often be obliged to pay for certain minimum subscriber levels,” Wieser notes. “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.”