According to recently released FCC data from their annual report on cable industry competition, the cable industry lost roughly 2.5 million video subscribers between 2010 and 2012. According to the FCC, cable operators laid claim to 57.3 million pay TV subscribers at the end of 2012, down from 59.8 million in 2010.
Most of these customers flocked to telcoTV, with AT&T U-Verse increasing their subscriber total from three million to 4.1 million between 2010 and 2012, and Verizon FiOS's total subscriber total going from 3.5 million to 4.5 million during the same stretch. Verizon and AT&T recently announced they've both passed the five million cable TV subscriber mark, giving them more TV customers than all but the nation's two largest traditional cable companies: Comcast and Time Warner Cable.
Cord cutters make up a very small but growing part of the equation as well, with even the industry's biggest cord cutting deniers now acknowledging the glacial but inevitable trend toward less expensive internet options for many users.
Meanwhile, the FCC report also pointed out that the soaring costs of programming is slowly but surely driving many of the nation's smaller cable operators out of business. "800 cable systems serving over 35,000 subscribers have closed mostly in small and rural communities, leaving those communities without any wireline MVPD (cable video) service," claims the report.