US pay-TV could lose 1m subs

A follow-up report on last week’s disappointing TV subscriber numbers at AT&T suggests that conventional pay-TV subscriber losses are accelerating. AT&T’s Q3 overall ‘lost’ conventional subscribers topped 390,000 although were helped by attracting some 300,000 Internet-based subscribers to its ‘NOW’ OTT bundle. The net decline for Q3 will be about 90,000, according to AT&T.

It is now generally accepted that subscribers are switching from high-priced cable and DTH subscriptions to lower-cost streaming services from the likes of Netflix, Amazon Video and Hulu. There are also plenty of signs that ‘pay-TV lite’ offerings from AT&T’s DirecTV, DISH/Sling TV and Fox are also proving attractive alternates.

The worries badly affected cable and telco stock prices last week with Comcast a typical example losing more than 3 per cent, while DISH fell 5.1 per cent last week.

The report, from Investor’s Business Daily, quotes equity analysts at UBS suggested that DISH’s Sling OTT service now has some 1.8 million subs, and DirecTV’s ‘NOW’ offering has 760,000 subs.

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