US pay-TV sheds 1.5m subs

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According to findings from Leichtman Research Group, the largest pay-TV providers in the US – representing about 95 per cent of the market – lost about 1,495,000 net video subscribers in 2017, compared to a pro forma loss of about 760,000 subscribers in 2016.

The top pay-TV providers account for 92.2 million subscribers – with the top six cable companies having about 48.1 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 31.5 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.2 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered pay-TV services with nearly 3.4 million subscribers.

Key findings include:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 660,000 video subscribers in 2017 – compared to a loss of about 275,000 subscribers in 2016
    • In 2017, the top cable providers cumulatively lost 1.4 per cent of video subscribers – compared to a loss of 0.6 per cent in 2016
  • Satellite TV services lost about 1,550,000 subscribers in 2017 – compared to a loss of about 40,000 subscribers in 2016
    • DirecTV lost 554,000 subscribers in 2017 – compared to a gain of 1,228,000 subscribers in 2016
    • In 2017, DBS services cumulatively lost 4.7 per cent of video subscribers – compared to a loss 0.1 per cent in 2016
  • The top telephone providers lost about 885,000 video subscribers in 2017 – compared to a loss of about 1,590,000 subscribers in 2016
    • AT&T U-verse lost 624,000 subscribers in 2017 – compared to a loss of 1,359,000 subscribers in 2016
    • In 2017, the top Telcos cumulatively lost 8.7 per cent of video subscribers – compared to a loss of 13.6 per cent in 2016
  • The top (publicly reporting) Internet-delivered services added about 1,600,000 subscribers in 2017 – compared to 1,145,000 net adds in 2016
    • Subscribers to the top Internet-delivered services increased by 90 per cent in 2017
  • Traditional pay-TV services (not including Internet-delivered) lost about 3,095,000 subscribers in 2017 – compared to a loss of about 1,905,000 in 2016

“The pay-TV market saw net losses increase in 2017, and the continuation of a share shift from traditional services to newer Internet-delivered services,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “Satellite TV services, DirecTV and DISH TV, had more combined net losses in 2017 than in any previous year, yet these losses were offset by gains from their Internet-delivered flanker brands, DirecTV NOW and Sling TV. Overall, the top pay-TV services lost 1.6 per cent of subscribers in 2017 compared to a loss of 0.8 per cent in 2016.”


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