Top U.S. Pay TV Providers Lost 1.49M Subs in 2017: LRG

Nation's six largest cable ops lost about 660,000 video subs last year
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The largest U.S. pay TV providers, representing about 95% of the market, lost about 1.49 million net video subscribers in 2017, versus a pro forma loss of about 760,000 in 2016, according to a new tally from Leichtman Research Group (LRG).

Broken down further, the top six cable MSOs lost roughly 660,000 video subs in 2017, widened from a loss of 275,000 in 2016. That translated to a cumulative loss of 1.4% of video subs last year, versus a loss of 0.6% in 2016, LRG said.

Satellite TV providers – Dish Network and DirecTV -- together lost about 1.55 million subs in 2017, versus a loss of 40,000 in 2016. Last year, DBS services lost a cumulative 4.7% of video subs, widened from 0.1% in 2016.

The nation’s largest telcos shed about 885,000 video subs in 2017, narrowed from a loss of 1.59 million in 2016. Among individual providers in that category, AT&T shed 624,000 telco TV subs in 2017, compared to a loss of 1.35 million subs in 2016.

LRG also found that the top, publicly reporting, OTT TV services added about 1.6 million subs in 2017, up from net adds of 1.14 million net in 2016.

On a comparative basis, traditional pay TV services (non OTT) lost 3.09 million in 2017, compared to a loss of 1.9 million in 2016.

At the end of 2017, the top pay TV providers accounted for 92.2 million subs, with the top six cable operators having 48.1 million of that total, while satellite TV providers had 31.5 million, teh top telcos had 9.2 million, and the top OTT TV services had nearly 3.4 million, LRG found.

“The pay-TV market saw net losses increase in 2017, and the continuation of a share shift from traditional services to newer Internet-delivered services,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement. “Satellite TV services, DIRECTV and DISH TV, had more combined net losses in 2017 than in any previous year, yet these losses were offset by gains from their Internet-delivered flanker brands, DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV. Overall, the top pay-TV services lost 1.6% of subscribers in 2017 compared to a loss of 0.8% in 2016.”

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