Report: US pay-TV loses 2.5m subs in 2018
February 25, 2019
The top 10 service providers in the US lost 1,121,300 television subscribers between them in the last quarter of 2018, as reported by the informitv Multiscreen Index. That represents 1.36 per cent of their combined subscriber base. The two satellite services lost 784,000 subscribers between them. Cable had a better quarter, with the two leading services reducing their combined losses to 55,000.
- Comcast cut its quarterly cable television subscriber losses to 19,000 but its total dropped below 21 million by the end of 2018.
- DirecTV lost 403,000 satellite subscribers, ending the year with 19.22 million, while the Direct Now online service lost 280,000, ending the year with 1.53 million.
- Charter lost 36,000 cable television customers, compared to a loss of 66,000 the previous quarter, ending the year with 16.10 million.
- Dish Network lost 381,000 satellite subscribers, falling below 10 million, but gained 47,000 Sling TV customers, ending with 2.42 million.
- Verizon lost 46,000 Fios television subscribers, while AT&T added 12,000 U-verse television customers. Between them they have 8.13 million telco television subscribers, 118,000 fewer than a year previously.
- Altice USA reduced subscriber losses for Optimum to 16,100, while Suddenlink gained 800, with a combined net loss of 98,100 over the year, ending the year with a total of 3.31 million.
In the course of 2018, the top 10 services lost at total of 2,568,100 television subscribers, or just over 3 per cent of their subscriber base. The largest losses were for the two satellite services, which shed 2.36 million subscribers. Their respective online services gained 649,000 subscribers over the year.
The four cable companies meanwhile gained internet customers, adding 2.41 million between them in 2018, with a total of 52.84 million at the end of the year.
“While the satellite services in the United States lost further subscribers, the cable companies reduced their rate of television customer decline but added internet customers,” observed Dr William Cooper, editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “So while they are losing on the swings they are gaining on the roundabouts.”
The Multiscreen Index comprises 100 leading multichannel television and video services that collectively account for around 430 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.
The top 10 services for the United States in the Multiscreen Index now have 81.58 million television customers between them, accounting for just over 68 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.