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Big cable loses 500,000 subscribers in Q3, we neglect to send flowers

Last quarter was the first time ever that US pay TV subscription rates were down. Now, according to GigaOM's calculations, big cable suffered another set back in Q3, waving goodbye to over 500,000 subscribers in total. Comcast was saddled with over half of the carnage and lost 275,000 customers, while Time Warner took a 155,000 subscriber hit. Charter Communications and Cablevision fared slightly better, but still added 63,800 and 24,500 respectively to the industry pit of despair.

Naturally, the blame game for the poor numbers was aimed squarely at the weak economy and increased competition from over-the-top video providers. Before you call the undertaker away from his wrestling day job, though, remember that cable's traditional backstop is to raise prices for remaining customers -- vicious cycle, anyone? In fact, Comcast shared on its Q3 earnings call that average customer revenue rose by ten percent year over year to $136 a month. Charter's similarly jumped by nine percent to $126, and while Cablevision's didn't increase by the same rate, monthly revenue per customer still amounted to a whopping $149 a month. So whether the reason is cord cutting or simply hard times, it's hard to get worked up over self-inflicted wounds.