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Cord-cutters hitting TV providers where it hurts

NEW YORK – Traditional TV continues to lose customers to the web. 

AT&T (T) said Wednesday that it lost 90,000 video subscribers in the U.S. in the third quarter, a steeper drop than the same period last year. That includes a gain of 300,000 customers in DirecTV Now, an online cable-like service that is cheaper than traditional TV.

The telecom company blames tough competition, the impact from hurricanes and stricter credit standards for customers.

The main reason consumers are “cutting the cord”? Price. More than 85 percent of cord-cutters say that pay TV services are too expensive, according to eMarketer. The internet also gives users a variety of ways for watching video.


AT&T stock is down 4.7 percent to $36.38 in afternoon trading. Shares of cable companies Comcast (CMCSA) and Charter Communications (CHTR), along with rival satellite TV provider Dish, are also down.

Jonathan Chaplin, an analyst with New Street Research, estimates the cable industry lost nearly 970,000 subscribers between April and June, and 2.7 million over the last four quarters.

“The trend is accelerating, and with new OTT TV products entering the market in coming quarters… we do not see pressures from cord-cutting easing any time soon,” he said in a recent note, referring to the growing number of “over-the-top” streaming services now competing with traditional TV.

© 2017 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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