Kagan: US pay-TV subs record annual loss

Subscription losses slowed for traditional multichannel video providers in Q4 2017 (quarter ended December 31st, 2017), but the sector still tumbled for the full year, according to data compiled by Kagan, a group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Combined cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telecommunication (telco) multichannel subscriptions fell to 94 million, including 91.1 million residential customers. Combined, cable, DBS and telco subscriptions are now down approximately 7.4 million from their peak in 2012.

Additional takeaways from Kagan’s 4th-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber report:

  • The total multichannel count including the top two virtual service providers, Sling TV and DirecTV NOW is at 97.3 million.
  • Cable operators lost an estimated 986,411 video subscribers in 2017, more than twice the 2016 drop. That broke the sector’s three-year streak of decelerating video subscriber losses.
  • The telcos slowed their net subscriber losses for a third consecutive quarter. The sector shed 903,262 subscribers overall in 2017 to end the year at 10.6 million.
  • The DBS sector was down nearly 1.7 million subscribers in the twelve months ending December 31st, 2017, by far its biggest annual loss on record, as DirecTV joined DISH in posting traditional subscriber declines.

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