The largest U.S. pay TV providers, representing about 95% of the market, lost about 655,000 net video subscribers in Q2 2017, improving slightly from a loss of about 715,000 subs in the year-ago quarter, Leichtman Research Group found in an analysis released Thursday.
Those providers had 92.6 million video subs at the end of the period, with the top six cable operators having 48.4 million, compared to satellite TV (32.7 million), the largest telcos (9.5 million), and a new breed of virtual MVPDs (1.9 million).
LRG said the top MSOs lost 190,000 in quarter, improving on 225,000 losses in Q2 2016, and representing the fewest net losses for cable in any second quarter since 2006.
Satellite TV providers (Dish Network and AT&T-owned DirecTV) lost 435,000 in Q2, versus a year-ago gain of 15,000 subs. The top telcos shed about 270,000 video subs in Q2, narrowing a year-ago loss of about 550,000.
Virtual MVPDs such as DirecTV Now and Sling TV combined to add 235,000 subs in Q2, compared to 45,000 net adds in Q2 2016.
Those OTT adds helped to offset some of the traditional pay TV losses, which totaled 895,000 in Q2 2017, versus a loss of 760,000 in the year-ago quarter, LRG said.
“While satellite TV services, DIRECTV and DISH, had more combined net losses in 2Q 2017 than in any previous quarter, these losses were partially offset by gains from their Internet-delivered flanker brands, DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV,” Bruce Leichtman, LRG’s president and principal analyst, said in a statement. “These Internet-delivered services (along with the others that do not publicly report results) are now clearly part of providers’ segmentation strategies and consumers’ pay-TV options.”