Advanced Television

US pay-TV Q2 subs down 415,000

August 14, 2018

Findings from analysis firm Leichtman Research Group indicate that the largest pay-TV providers in the US – representing about 95 per cent of the market – lost about 415,000 net video subscribers in Q2 2018, compared to a pro forma loss of about 660,000 subscribers in Q2 2017, lower than in any second quarter since 2014.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 91.3 million subscribers – with the top six cable companies having 47.4 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 30.6 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.1 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered pay-TV services 4.2 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 275,000 video subscribers in Q2 2018 – compared to a loss about 190,000 subscribers in Q2 2017
  • Satellite TV services lost about 480,000 subscribers in Q2 2018 – compared to a loss of about 470,000 subscribers in Q2 2017
    • DBS net losses were more than in any previous quarter
    • Net losses for DirecTV were more than in any previous quarter
  • The top telephone providers lost about 45,000 video subscribers in Q2 2018 – compared to a loss of 270,000 subscribers in Q2 2017
    • Net losses for the top Telcos were the fewest in any quarter since 3Q 2015
    • AT&T U-verse reported net video additions for the first time since 1Q 2015
  • Internet-delivered services (Sling TV and DirecTV NOW) added about 385,000 subscribers in Q2 2018 – compared to about 270,000 net adds in Q2 2017
  • Traditional pay-TV services (not including Internet-delivered services) lost about 800,000 subscribers in Q2 2018 – compared to a loss of about 930,000 in Q2 2017

“The top pay-TV providers lost about 415,000 subscribers in Q2 2018. This marked the fewest net losses in the traditionally weak second quarter since 2014,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “The two publicly reporting Internet-delivered pay-TV services now have over 4 million subscribers. This newer segment of the industry has helped to mitigate overall pay-TV losses, while also contributing to a share shift from traditional services. This shift is both a product of consumers opting for more economical services, as well as changes in providers’ strategies.”

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of Q2 2018 Net Adds in Q2 2018
Cable Companies
Comcast 22,121,000 (140,000)
Charter 16,682,000 (57,000)
Cox 4,065,000 (35,000)
Altice 3,350,900 (24,200)
Mediacom 808,000 (9,000)
Cable ONE 340,112 (10,762)
Total Top Cable 47,367,012 (275,962)
Satellite Services (DBS)
DirecTV 19,984,000 (286,000)
DISH TV 10,653,000 (192,000)
Total DBS 30,637,000 (478,000)
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 4,560,000 (37,000)
AT&T U-verse 3,680,000 23,000
Frontier 902,000 (32,000)
Total Top Phone 9,142,000 (46,000)
Sling TV 2,344,000 41,000
DIRECTV NOW 1,809,000 342,000
Total Top Internet-Delivered 4,153,000 383,000
Total Top Providers 91,299,012 (416,962)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.


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