The leading dozen U.S. pay TV companies, accounting for 93% of the domestic market, lost 1.74 million users in the third quarter, according to the latest quarterly research report from Leichtman Research Group (LRG).
The loss represented a marked uptick over the 975,000 users shed in the third quarter of 2018, the 405,000 left behind in the third quarter of 2017, and the 250,000 lost in the Q3 2016.
These 12 pay TV companies now serve only 84.8 million subscribers, compared to 92.2 million just two years ago, according to LRG.
DirecTV, which lost 1.073 million users in the third quarter, combined for the lions share of blood loss. Comcast is once again seeing steady attrition (down 238,000 users in Q3), but the third quarter was really about AT&T and it’s pay TV customer growth problems. AT&T’s virtual platform, the recently rebranded AT&T TV Now, lost 195,000 users.
With U-verse’s 104,000 shed subscribers factored in, AT&T lost 1.37 million pay TV users in the third quarter.
“AT&T, the leading pay-TV provider in the U.S., accounted for 79% of the net losses in the quarter compared to 30% of net losses in 3Q 2018. This change is largely the result of AT&T’s strategic decision to increasingly focus on retaining and acquiring more profitable subscribers.”