Kagan: US pay-TV Q3 subs down 1.2m

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Third-quarter results for US multichannel video subscriptions cut short a brief wave of optimism for the sector, according to Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. Accelerating losses from satellite providers and weakening net adds from Sling TV and DirecTV Now virtual multichannel alternatives drove the overall decline.

Combined, the cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telco multichannel sectors lost 1.2 million video subscribers in the three-month period ended September 30th, 2018, ending the quarter at 91.0 million, including 88.2 million residential customers.

Kagan’s quarterly analysis now includes total virtual multichannel subscriptions from services such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV and PlayStation Vue. The combined virtual platforms gained an estimated 2.1 million subs in the trailing 9 months, compared a decline of 2.8 million in the traditional segment.

Additional takeaways from Kagan’s 3rd-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscription report:

  • The residential penetration rate stood at 76.2 per cent as of September 30th when including traditional multichannel and the estimated virtual multichannel universe.
  • DBS had its worst quarter on record with a loss of 726,000 subscribers.
  • Cable operators lost nearly 1.1 million subscribers year-to-date as of September 30th, their worst performance at the three-quarter mark since 2014.
  • Traditional telco subscriptions fell by 94,000. By itself, Verizon shed a net 63,000 subs.

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