The largest pay-TV providers in the US, representing about 95% of the market, lost about 975,000 net video subscribers in 3Q 2018, compared to a pro forma loss of about 410,000 subscribers in 3Q 2017.
The top pay-TV providers now account for about 90.3 million subscribers – with the top six cable companies having 47.1 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 29.9 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.1 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services 4.2 million subscribers.
Key findings for the quarter include:
– Satellite TV services lost about 725,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018 – compared to a loss of about 470,000 subscribers in 3Q 2017
– DBS net losses were more than in any previous quarter
– Net losses for DIRECTV were more than in any previous quarter
– The top six cable companies lost about 245,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2018 – compared to a loss of about 290,000 subscribers in 3Q 2017
– The top telephone providers lost about 80,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2018 – compared to a loss of 180,000 subscribers in 3Q 2017
– Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services, Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, added 75,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018 – compared to about 530,000 net adds in 3Q 2017
– Net vMVPD adds in 3Q 2018 were fewer than in any quarter since their debut
– Traditional pay-TV services (not including vMVPD) lost about 1,050,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018 – compared to a loss of about 940,000 in 3Q 2017
“Overall, the top pay-TV providers lost about 975,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018. This marked the most net losses ever in a quarter for the pay-TV industry,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.
“Satellite TV services had more combined net losses in 3Q 2018 than in any previous quarter. These net losses were largely driven by corporate strategies focused on acquiring and retaining more profitable subscribers (as well as a programming carriage issue between DISH and Univision). A related emphasis on improving the profitability of the satellite TV company’s Internet-delivered flanker brands reduced net quarterly adds in the segment, resulting in vMVPDs not helping to mitigate overall pay-TV losses to the degree they had in recent quarters.”