Report: US online TV services gain at expense of satellite

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The top 10 television service providers in the US lost over 200,000 subscribers between them in the first quarter of 2018, as reported by the informitv Multiscreen Index. Among the top 10 services there were 373,000 fewer satellite subscribers and 245,000 fewer cable television customers. Meanwhile online television services DirecTV NOW and Sling TV gained a total of 427,000 customers, resulting in an overall loss of 0.25 per cent of the subscriber base across the top 10 services.

  • DirecTV lost 188,000 satellite television subscribers, although AT&T U-verse ended a run of television customer losses. DirecTV NOW added 336,000 online subscribers, taking its total to 1.42 million, giving AT&T an overall net gain of 149,000, with 25.32 million subscribers across its services in the US.
  • DISH Network lost 185,000 satellite television subscribers, taking its total down to 10.85 million, but added 91,000 Sling TV customers. It now has 2.30 million online television customers, making it the eighth largest television service in the country, just behind Optimum cable.
  • Comcast lost 93,000 television subscribers, marking its fourth consecutive quarterly custom loss, down 310,000 year on year, taking its total to 21.21 million.
  • Charter Spectrum lost 122,000 television subscribers, down 314,000 year on year, to a total of 16.42 million.
  • Verizon Fios continued a slow leak of television customers, losing 22,000, down 84,000 year on year, to give it a total of 4.60 million.
  • Altice USA shed 23,000 Optimum television customers and 7,000 Suddenlink subscribers, with a collective loss of nearly 125,000 year on year, for a combined total of 3.38 million television customers.

“The DirecTV NOW and Sling TV online services are continuing to gain customers at the expense of traditional television platforms,” observed Dr William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “We now include them as distinct services in our index and they are now among the top 10 in the US, above some of the smaller cable services.”

Frontier Communications dropped out of the top 10, losing 27,000 television subscribers, with a total of 0.93 million. Cox Communications is not included in the top 10 as it does not report subscriber numbers.

The top 10 services for the US in the Multiscreen Index have just over 84 million television customers between them, accounting for over 70 per cent of television homes. Subscriber numbers are as reported by service providers, rather than analyst estimates.


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