LANSING, MI – It is no big surprise that cable companies are losing customers at a fairly good clip. Most charge high rates for content that many do not want or like. Each year a customer can almost guarantee to see their bill rise even though they have not added on more services. So to see over 300,000 customers run for the door away from cable television providers in 2019 should be a wake up call to such companies.
The Michigan Public Service Commission’s annual Status of Competition for Video Services in Michigan report released today found that the number of video and cable television providers in Michigan dropped to 37 serving nearly 1.7 million customers in 2019.
The number of providers decreased by two from 39 in 2018 while the number of customers decreased by 313,066, to a total of 1,686,006, according to the report. The number of customers has declined for four years in a row from a recent high of 2,351,000 in 2015, reflecting a national trend of consumers shifting away from subscribed video services to streaming services over the internet. Seventy two percent of providers said they saw a decrease in their number of customers.
The number of franchise agreements between providers and municipalities stayed the same in 2019 at a total of 2,104, according to the report based on responses by providers to an MPSC survey. The report, submitted by Feb. 1 each year to the Governor and Legislature, does not include satellite TV providers, which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act.
About a third of the video and cable TV providers who responded to the MPSC’s voluntary survey reported investing more than $4.3 million in Michigan in 2019, and more than $1.2 billion since the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act took effect in 2006.
The Commission works to resolve disputes between customers, municipalities and service providers. The MPSC received 908 customer complaints last year, up from 806 in 2018. The most common complaint was regarding billing charges, followed by cable line issues and equipment or service problems. A complaint form can be found at the MPSC’s Video/Cable webpage.
The webpage also lists contact information for service providers in Michigan and consumer tips.
The report is based on franchise entities and video and cable television providers who responded to MPSC surveys, and other information that the Commission gathers.