A report released on Wednesday by research firm SNL Kagan depicts losses in multichannel video program distribution (MVPD) subscribership for the second straight quarter, underscoring a trend that researchers say is increasingly attributable to the exodus of young adult cable viewers to Hulu and other web-based video platforms. Statistics published by Kagan indicate that total net subscriptions to MVPD services such as cable TV, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and IPTV fell by 119,000 during the third quarter of 2010. Those numbers follow an equally lackluster second quarter in which net subscriptions fell by 216,000. Cable TV operators such as Comcast experienced the most drastic losses, posting a third quarter drop of 741,000 accounts that represents the steepest decline in cable subscribership in 30 years. (The report also shows, however, that many of those customers migrated to IPTV providers such as Verizon FiOS and DBS operators which posted third quarter gains of 476,000 and 145,000 customers, respectively.) Although researchers blamed the second quarter results on “the weak economy, high unemployment, and elevated churn of former over-the-air households” that shifted temporarily to promotional cable services as a result of last year’s digital TV transition, Kagan senior analyst Ian Olgeirson noted in comments on the third quarter that it is “becoming increasingly difficult to dismiss the impact of over-the-top substitution on view subscriber performance.” Meanwhile, as the national cable segment shrunk by 2.3%, low cost web TV provider Hulu experienced a sharp upturn in its revenues, from $109 million in 2009 to a projected tally of more than $240 million for 2010. According to Kagan, growth at Hulu and other web-based video services such as Netflix (which, like Hulu, is extending its service to devices that include the Sony PlayStation 3 console and web-connected televisions) is fueled largely by young, tech-savvy “cord cutters” who are flocking to cheaper alternatives to traditional pay TV. Confirming his company’s plan to roll out “smaller packages at lower prices” that might entice financially-strapped cord-cutters to stay, Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt said, “there is certainly a segment of . . . our population that is under economic duress, and we think it’s important for this broader industry, meaning programmers and distributors, to be responsive to that.”