Canada’s Telecoms Could Lose Another 200,000 Cable Subscribers in 2017

The numbers aren’t quite in yet, but there’s little indication the trend will stop. Canadian consumers are getting rid of cable en masse.

Canada’s five largest telecoms--BCE (TSX:BCE), Telus (TSX:T), Rogers Communications (TSX:RCI.B), Shaw Communications (TSX:SJR.B) and Quebecor (TSX:QBR.B)--lost a combined 157,000 television subscribers through the first three quarters of 2016. That puts them on pace to lose a collective 209,000 TV customers for the entire year.

2017 isn’t expected to be any better, with analysts expecting approximately 200,000 Canadian families to cut their cable cord.

Amazon entered the Canadian market in December, 2016, and BCE’s CraveTV recently surpassed one million subscribers. More streaming competition should emerge in 2017, which will continue to put pressure on cable subscriptions. There are simply too many other options, and many customers are less than impressed with cable’s high price tag.

Cable wasn’t the only disappointment. Landline subscriptions were even weaker in 2016, with 471,000 Canadians cutting their home phone cord in first nine months of 2016.

Fortunately for Canada’s telecoms, it’s not all bad news. The five largest telecoms added 626,000 wireless subscribers and 212,000 internet customers. Telecom providers have also been pretty successful pushing through price hikes to existing cable customers.

Additionally, telecom providers have also seen some success selling faster internet service to people who have cut cable and get the majority of their entertainment over the internet. Pricing power for internet service is far better than for television.