LANSING – The number of video and cable television operators in Michigan declined by one to 36 in 2020, and the number of subscribers fell by more than 75,000, according to the Michigan Public Service Commission’s annual Status of Competition for Video Services in Michigan report released today.
The number of video/cable customers statewide declined to 1,610,279 in 2020, from 1,686,006 in 2019, the report found. Customer totals have declined for five years in a row from a recent high of more than 2.3 million in 2015, part of a nationwide trend of consumers unsubscribing from cable-video services in favor of internet streaming services. Nearly two-thirds of providers reported a decrease in customers.
The number of franchise agreements between providers and municipalities grew by three in 2020 to a total of 2,107.
The MPSC’s report, based on responses by providers to an MPSC survey, is submitted by Feb. 1 each year to the Governor and Legislature. It does not include satellite TV providers, which do not fall under the jurisdiction of the Uniform Video Services Local Franchise Act.
More than 40% of video and cable TV providers who responded to the MPSC’s voluntary survey reported investing a total of more than $3.4 million in Michigan in 2020.
The MPSC works to resolve disputes between customers, municipalities and service providers. The MPSC received 870 customer complaints last year, a decrease from 908 in 2019. The most common complaint involved 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 the MPSC survey, and other information collected by the MPSC.