Some 8% of U.S. broadband households cancelled at least one paid video service through May of this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and 4% of that cancelled a traditional pay-TV service due primarily to the cancellation of sports programming, research released this week by Parks Associates found.

“The lack of sports programming had a significant role in households cancelling their pay-TV services early in the pandemic,” stated Jennifer Kent, Parks Associates senior director. “All major leagues have now resumed play, and that should bring back many of these households, especially online pay-TV subscribers, who have an easier path to re-subscribe compared to traditional pay TV. However, the ongoing economic crisis could push additional households to trim services. Service and video providers are shifting to focus on retention and finding ways to keep subscribers through innovative partnerships and unique content.”

The research firm said more than 40% of former pay-TV subscribers indicated an intent to re-subscribe live sporting events return and more than two-thirds of former subscribers to live over-the-top pay-TV services said they would re-subscribe once sports resumed.

The research firm will host the third annual seminar on the Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media as a virtual conference on December 14-16. Topics will explore new ways to present and leverage content to attract and retain subscribers.

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By Greg Tarr

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