The story of the last few years for pay television is the increase of cord cutters and the decrease in subscribers. And subscription TV suffered through its worst first quarter ever shedding some 762,000 subscribers. ESPN is on the cusp of that loss continually losing homes. But a new study from PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that there’s a silver lining coming up.

The new PwC study says overall TV revenue will decline four percent between now and 2021, but cable and internet video will see increases in revenue. PwC says overall TV revenue will fall from $109.04 billion in 2016 to $105.04 billion in 2021.

As for pay TV, PwC in its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook 2017-2021 study says it will see slight gains to $101.1 billion in 2021 and that’s up slightly from $100.9 billion. And that will be due to what the company sees is the slowing of cable subscriber losses to just 0.1% annually in that time frame. That compares to a 2% loss in 2015 and a 1% decrease in 2016.

That would mean good news for the cable sports networks which have seen losses over the last two years, ESPN in particular. In the last cable home estimates, ESPN was in 86.9 million households last month, down from 89.8 million a year ago.

Some other good news, PwC said cable ad revenue is expected to jump 15.6% in 2017-21 to $25.2 billion. Broadcast ad revenue is expected to grow at a slower rate, 5% to $18.9 billion compared to $18 billion in 2016.

But the biggest beneficiary of revenue increases according to PwC is internet video. PwC says subscription video on demand revenue is expected to grow by a whopping 71% from $8.2 billion last year to $14.03 billion in 2021. PwC says Netflix will be a big part of that jump, but other factors will help as well.

So cable which has been riding a rather bumpy road over the last few years could see some smooth sailing in the years ahead.

[Multichannel News]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.