Sign of the times: The six biggest satellite and cable TV companies lost a combined 580,000 customers in the second quarter, which Bloomberg calls a record high. Take your pick of reasons: rising prices, increased online competition from the likes of Netflix, a lousy economy, the slump in home sales, etc. It all adds up to a "toxic mix" for pay TV companies, says one analyst.
Only DirecTV managed to add customers in the quarter, while Dish, Time Warner, Comcast, Cablevision, and Charter Communications saw losses. “The cable companies have been losing for years, but what you’re seeing is the satellite guys joining some of that,” says another analyst. "How do you support your base of customers when you don’t have a bunch of new households to convert?"