Coming off a second quarter where it lost more customers than ever, the pay television sector is poised to report another period in the red in the third quarter, according to Miller Tabak media analyst David Joyce.
In a note issued Monday, Joyce wrote that with continued high unemployment, low housing sales activity and a consumer base that is aggressively watching its spending, pay TV providers, which collectively shed 338,000 customers in the second quarter, could see their subscriber losses reach about 48,000 in the third quarter.
That compares to a gain of about 12,000 pay TV customers in the third quarter last year.
According to Joyce, cable operators should lose about 493,000 customers in the period, better than the 619,000 they lost in the thrid quarter of 2010. But the analyst predicts that sluggish growth at satellite giant DirecTV (35,000 net new subscriber additions vs. 174,000 in the prior year) accelerated losses at Dish Network (40,000 vs. 29,000 in the prior year) and slower growth at Verizon (210,000 vs. 236,000 last year)and AT&T (160,000 vs. 204,000 last year) will be enough to push the sector into negative territory.