Cable operators lost almost 1 million subscribers in 2017

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As more people are exposed to the various video streaming services on the market, subscription losses mounted for traditional TV providers in 2017, according to new industry figures. The number of viewers paying for subscription services fell 3.7% last year, research firm Kagan says.

The numbers, from Kagan’s 4th-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber Report, were released last week and are just the latest indication of the challenges cable operators face in finding and keeping customers who are willing to pay in excess of $100 a month to watch their favorite shows.

New report: Pay TV subscriptions fell nearly 4% in 2017

Since reaching their peak around five years ago, cable, satellite and telco operators have lost 7.4 million customers, according to Kagan, a division of S&P Global Intelligence.

“Cable operators lost an estimated 986,411 video subscribers in 2017, more than twice the 2016 drop,” the report says.”That broke the sector’s three-year streak of decelerating video subscriber losses.”

But don’t think the losses indicate the total collapse of the market — 2017 still saw 94 million subscribers hold on to their cable packages.

Money expert Clark Howard says that the various streaming options available today present a time of opportunity for people looking for affordable TV options.

“Each of these [streaming services] have plusses and minuses and they are not the same as sitting down with a traditional paid TV remote and just changing channels,” he says in a recent podcast. “They require more thinking, but they also offer more flexibility. You can watch whenever and wherever.”

Team Clark has reviewed the top streaming platforms on the market right now. If you’re looking for an affordable way to watch content, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV and Sling TV are the five leading providers to consider right now.

Check out our best live streaming plans and deals for 2018.