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Charter CEO Tom Rutledge Believes Cord-Cutting Will Slow Down

Stephanie Sengwe

With the launches of Disney+ and Apple TV+, as well as the impending launches of HBO Max and Peacock, it seems most media companies are looking to offer the best content for cord-cutters. As free streaming services such as Pluto TV, Tubi and Sling TV also continue to grow, it seems most audiences are migrating towards either skinny bundles or unbundling all together.

Tom Rutledge, the CEO of Charter Communications, seems to believe that this is merely a fad. In an interview on CNBC’s “The Exchange,” he stated, “I think, in aggregate, they’re going to slow down. Most single-family homes have big TVs in them, and that’s where you get sports … That’s where you get live TV like this. It’s going to still be under price pressure. I’m not saying the category is not under pressure, but I think the rate of decline will slow.”

Rutledge’s outlook is in direct contrast to recent analyst findings. Last week, a report by Leichtman Research Group, Inc. found that pay-TV companies lost about 1.74 million customers in the third quarter, the biggest single-quarter loss the industry has ever posted. This is in addition to the combined 2.88 million subscribers the industry lost in the first and second quarters.

In August, eMarkerter estimated that over 40 million households would be without a pay-TV service by the end of 2019. The company projected that cord-cutters would jump another 19.2 percent and that pay-TV households would decline by 4.2 percent to just 86.5 million. LRG is reporting that the top pay-TV providers currently account for about 84.8 million subscribers.