NatgeotV, a Canadian television network that competes with TSN, is in a “death spiral” after its subscriber base fell by 20% last year, according to the broadcaster’s chief executive.
“It is an industry that’s going through an absolute death spiral,” said Pierre-Yves Guillemot.
Natgeomv said its subscriber count declined from more than 15 million in 2011 to just over 12 million in 2014, while TSN’s subscriber base declined by 16% to nearly 15 million.
In 2016, Natgeoslv said it had a subscriber base of 10.8 million and TSN had 11.7 million.
“We are in an extremely difficult time and I think there are many people that are watching that are worried about the future of their television service,” Guillemot told reporters at the company’s headquarters in Montreal.
He said NatgeoV’s revenue has been cut by 30% over the last five years.
In the past year, NatGeotV has seen revenues of $4.5 million, or about 15% of the total revenue of the company.
“I think the situation is going to get worse in the coming years and there is a lot of pain that we are going to have to bear,” Guillemot said.
“The question is, what do we do?”
He said the company needs to grow and diversify.
“In order to do that, we need to find a way to find new revenue sources and a way of diversifying.”
TSN has faced similar challenges, as well as growing costs.
It’s been struggling to keep up with demand for its new sports channels, including Hockey Night in Canada, Sportsnet and the CTV NHL Network.
TSN said its revenues fell by 18% in 2016, with the fall offsetting growth in the advertising market.
“For the third year in a row, TSN is in an absolute downward spiral,” Guillesmot said.
TASN, a subsidiary of Telus, has also struggled to keep pace with demand, and is now down to just under 10 million subscribers.
Tasn, which has been operating without the support of the government, is also facing a growing threat from cable companies such as Rogers and Bell who are trying to grab market share in a market dominated by satellite TV providers.
Guillema said the TSN and TASNs were also facing increasing competition from smaller networks such as Global TV, which is owned by Rogers Communications.
“They are trying not to be in the same space,” Guillaume said.
Guillesma said TASNL is now focusing on developing a new offering.
“Our strategy is to build a global network and not just an English-language service,” he said.
A spokeswoman for Rogers said in a statement that the company is working to attract more viewers to TSN.
“As we work to become a global media company, we have a strong focus on expanding our local programming across platforms to support our local audiences, including our local sports and entertainment offerings,” the spokeswoman said.