After years of insisting otherwise, investors seem to have decided that the pay TV business is in decline. Earlier this month, triggered by an admission of weakness from Disney and ESPN, Wall Street pounded all of the big media companies, wiping out more than $50 billion in value.
To spell it out: Pay TV subscriber growth has been tailing off for years, and now it has vanished altogether — the number of people who pay for cable TV, satellite TV or telco TV is shrinking.
There are plenty of reasons to argue why the TV business is not the newspaper business, or the music business. For starters, many people consume an enormous amount of TV every week, and something like 100 million people pay (a lot) of money for TV every month.
They’re probably going to keep doing that, in one form or another, for a long time.
But the notion that the TV Industrial Complex could fend off the Internet without changing the way it sells its product to consumers and advertisers clearly doesn’t hold water anymore.
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Some related images by Gerd Leonhard: