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US pay-TV services cut sub losses

The 10 leading pay-TV services in the US lost 73,000 subscribers between them in the third quarter of 2016. It could have been more but DISH Network changed the way it calculates commercial customers, turning a net subscriber loss into an apparent gain.

“Mergers and acquisitions complicate direct comparisons but the overall decline was less than the 128,000 loss for third quarter of 2015 or the 663,000 in the second quarter of 2016.” said Dr William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index.

  • Comcast, the largest single service, added 32,000 television subscribers. It ended the quarter with 22.43 million, a year-on-year gain of 170,000.
  • AT&T satellite subsidiary DirecTV gained 323,000 television customers in the US, taking its total to 20.78 million, while its U-verse telco television service conversely lost 326,000.
  • Charter, which is rebranding its services as Spectrum following the merger with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, lost 47,000 television customers.
  • DISH Network lost 116,000 subscribers, after losing 281,000 the previous quarter, but reported a gain of 50,000 television customers, after changing the way it calculates some hotel and commercial accounts.
  • Verizon Fios added 36,000 television subscribers, overtaking AT&T U-verse. Earlier in the year some markets were transferred to Frontier, which lost 92,000.
  • Optimum and Suddenlink, both now owned by Altice, lost 28,000 and 13,000 television customers respectively, while Mediacom lost 8,000.

“Six out of these 10 services lost subscribers in the quarter, although these were largely offset by reported gains for the others,” noted informitv analyst Dr Sue Farrell. “Over twelve months, these 10 services lost over 350,000 television customers, or 0.4 per cent of their combined subscriber base.”

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