Advanced Television

Research: US pay-TV subs losses continue

August 6, 2018

The top 10 service providers in the United States lost over 358,000 television subscribers between them in the second quarter of 2018, as reported by the informitv Multiscreen Index. Satellite television providers DirecTV and DISH Network lost 478,000 subscribers between them, compared to 373,000 the previous quarter. Cable companies among the top 10 lost 233,000 television customers, compared to 244,000 the previous quarter. Meanwhile, online services DirecTV NOW and Sling TV gained 325,000 and 41,000 subscribers respectively.

The top 10 services lost 0.43 per cent of their combined subscriber base in the quarter. That is an improvement on the same quarter the previous year, when the top 10 lost 792,000 subscribers, or 0.91 per cent of their base.

  • DirecTV lost 286,000 satellite television subscribers, compared to 188,000 the previous quarter and 156,000 in the second quarter the previous year, falling just below 20 million customers.
  • DISH Network lost 192,000 satellite television subscribers, compared to 185,000 the previous quarter, although it lost 196,000 in the second quarter the previous year.
  • Comcast lost 136,000 cable television customers, with its fifth consecutive quarterly loss, down 410,000 year on year to 21.07 million.
  • Charter Spectrum lost 73,000, compared to a loss of 121,000 the previous quarter and 234,000 in the second quarter the prior year.
  • Altice USA lost 24,000 between Optimum and Suddenlink, compared to 30,000 the previous quarter and 37,000 a year before.
  • Sling TV overtook Optimum to rank seventh, with 2.34 million subscribers, while DirecTV NOW made the greatest gain, ending the first half of 2018 with 1.74 million.
  • Verizon Fios continued to shed television subscribers, losing 37,000, while AT&T U-verse added 24,000, although the telco services have 1.24 million fewer than two years previously.

“Satellite television services lost more subscribers than were gained by their corresponding online alternatives,” noted Dr William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “Cable companies slightly reduced their rate of loss, but the market is marked by slow attrition rather than a dramatic decline.”

The top 10 services for the United States in the Multiscreen Index now have 83.56 million television customers between them, accounting for slightly less than 70 per cent of television homes. Subscriber numbers are as reported by service providers, rather than analyst estimates. Cox Communications is not included in the top 10 as it does not report subscriber numbers.

The Multiscreen Index comprises 100 leading multichannel television and video services that collectively account for around 440 million subscribing homes worldwide. The index provides an industry benchmark of the relative performance of television service providers against which customer gains or losses can be measured.

United States

Service Parent company Platform Change
1 Comcast Comcast Communications Corporation Cable -136,000 21.07
2 DirecTV AT&T Satellite -286,000 19.98
3 Charter Spectrum Charter Communications Cable -73,000 16.21
4 DISH Network DISH Network Corporation Satellite -192,000 10.65
5 Verizon Fios Verizon Communications Telco -37,000 4.56
6 AT&T U-verse AT&T Telco 24,000 3.66
7 Sling TV DISH Network Corporation Online 41,000 2.34
8 Optimum Altice USA Cable -12,800 2.33
9 DirecTV NOW AT&T Online 325,000 1.74
10 Suddenlink Altice USA Cable -11,400 1.02
  -358,200 83.56

Television subscriber numbers at the end of March 2018 for the 10 leading pay-television services in the United States that report figures.

Source: informitv Multiscreen Index


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