Report: US Q1 pay-TV losses slow

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Findings from Leichtman Research Group (LRG) indicate that the largest pay-TV providers in the US – representing about 95 per cent of the market – lost about 305,000 net video subscribers in Q1 2018, compared to a pro forma loss of about 515,000 subscribers in Q1 2017.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 91.9 million subscribers – with the top six cable companies having 47.8 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 31.1 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.2 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered pay-TV services 3.8 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 285,000 video subscribers in Q1 2018 – compared to a loss about 115,000 subscribers in Q1 2017
  • Satellite TV services lost about 375,000 subscribers in Q1 2018 – compared to a loss of about 340,000 subscribers in Q1 2017
  • The top telephone providers lost about 50,000 video subscribers in Q1 2018 – compared to a loss of 325,000 subscribers in Q1 2017
    • Net losses for the top Telcos in Q1 2018 were the fewest in any quarter since Q32015
    • AT&T U-verse did not report net video losses for the first time since Q1 2015
  • Internet-delivered services (Sling TV and DirecTV NOW) added about 405,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018 – compared to about 265,000 net adds in Q1 2017
  • Traditional pay-TV services (not including Internet-delivered services) lost about 710,000 subscribers in Q1 2018 – compared to a loss of about 780,000 in Q1 2017

“The number of pay-TV subscribers for the top providers peaked six years ago. Since Q1 2012, top providers have lost about 3.4 million total pay-TV subscribers,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “Since the industry’s peak, traditional services have lost about 7.2 million subscribers, while the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered services gained about 3.8 million subscribers.”

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of Q1 2018 Net Adds in Q1 2018
Cable Companies
Comcast 22,261,000 (96,000)
Charter 16,885,000 (112,000)
Cox 4,100,000 (30,000)
Altice 3,375,100 (30,400)
Mediacom 817,000 (4,000)
Cable ONE 350,874 (13,014)
Total Top Cable 47,788,974 (285,414)
Satellite Services (DBS)
DirecTV 20,270,000 (188,000)
DISH TV 10,845,000 (185,000)
Total DBS 31,115,000 (373,000)
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 4,597,000 (22,000)
AT&T U-verse 3,657,000 0
Frontier 934,000 (27,000)
Total Top Phone 9,188,000 (49,000)
Internet-Delivered
Sling TV 2,303,000 91,000
DirecTV NOW 1,467,000 312,000
Total Top Internet-Delivered 3,770,000 403,000
Total Top Providers 91,861,974 (304,414)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.


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