The 11 top U.S. pay TV operators, accounting for around 95% of the market, shed a record 1.325 million subscribers in the first quarter, according to Leichtman Research Group (LRG).
The research company reported losses of just 305,000 for the same group of companies in the first quarter of 2018.
The survey includes mostly publicly traded telecom companies. But privately held Cox Communications is estimated to have lost 35,000 video users in the quarter.
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AT&T, meanwhile, had a net loss of 625,000 users across its three platforms, DirecTV satellite, AT&T U-verse and DirecTV Now. In the first quarter of last year, AT&T reported a gain of 125,000 users, largely on the growth of DirecTV Now.
In cable, Comcast (down 120,000 customers) and Charter Communications (lost 145,000) let a group that had no gainers. Losses in cable totaled 335,000 users vs. 285,000 in the first quarter of 2018.
The first quarter, said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, “was the third consecutive quarter of record pay-TV net losses. This accelerated downturn in the pay-TV market coincided with the decisions by AT&T and other providers to increasingly focus on long-term profitability when acquiring and retaining subscribers.”