Research: US Q2 pay-TV losses slow to 1.5m

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The quarterly variations in the pace of US traditional multichannel erosion offered slight improvement in the second quarter of 2021 without fundamentally altering the longer-term trajectory, according to Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Losses to cable, telco and satellite video services slowed from the year-ago period to 1.5 million and were accompanied by improvements to the comparisons for the first six months and trailing 12-month periods from 2020.

Kagan’s latest report found that continued sluggish virtual multichannel growth hampered progress in maintaining the number of subscriptions to a package of live linear network and on-demand content represented by the combined traditional and virtual multichannel segments. The combined virtual and traditional multichannel households accounted for 64.3 per cent of occupied households at 83.1 million residential subscriptions.

Additional takeaways:

  • Virtual multichannel eked out a 0.7 per cent sequential uptick in subscribers, passing 13 million customers. The segment gained 2.7 million subscribers in the 12 months ended June 30th, 2021.
  • Cable losses slowed sequentially. For the six-month period ended June 30th, however, 2021 shows the sector’s largest decline on record, topping the previous trough logged in 2020 by nearly 10 per cent.
  • Satellite multichannel logged its smallest quarterly net losses since the second quarter of 2018, but the segment remains on a seemingly inexorable downward trajectory, ending the period with an estimated 20.5 million subscribers, down 39 per cent from its first-quarter 2014 peak.
  • Telco video subs slumped to 7.3 million. Overall losses were driven by the estimated 7.5 per cent sequential decline in AT&T U-verse subscribers, while Verizon Fios notched a more moderate 1.6 per cent slide, a pace more in line with the cable sector.

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