Record video sub losses continue, AT&T takes a beating

According to the Leichtman Research Group, the largest U.S. pay TV providers - representing about 93% of the market - lost about 1,740,000 net video subscribers in 3Q ...

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According to the Leichtman Research Group, the largest U.S. pay TV providers - representing about 93% of the market - lost about 1,740,000 net video subscribers in 3Q 2019, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 975,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018. AT&T accounted for 79% of net losses in the quarter.

The top pay TV providers now account for about 84.8 million subscribers, with the top seven cable companies having 46.1 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 26.3 million, the top telephone companies 8.6 million, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay TV services 3.8 million.

Findings for the quarter indicate:

  • Satellite TV services lost about 1,140,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019, compared to a net loss of about 725,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018. DIRECTV had record net losses for the sixth consecutive quarter, while DISH TV had fewer net losses than in any quarter since 3Q 2014.
  • The top seven cable companies lost about 410,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2019, compared to a loss of about 245,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018.
  • The top telephone providers lost about 210,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2019, compared to a loss of about 80,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018.
  • Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services, Sling TV and AT&T NOW, added about 20,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019, compared to about 75,000 net adds in 3Q 2018.
  • AT&T had a net loss of about 1,370,000 subscribers across its three pay TV services (DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, and AT&T NOW) in 3Q 2019, compared to a net loss of about 295,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018.

"The top pay TV providers had a net loss of about 1,740,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019. This marked the fifth consecutive quarter of record pay TV industry net losses," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "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."        

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