Defections from traditional U.S. multichannel video subscription services ballooned in the third quarter, amplified by tighter promotions at a time when consumers need little additional motivation to seek over-the-top (OTT) alternatives, according to Kagan, a TMT research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.
Kagan estimates traditional multichannel video subscribers fell by nearly 1.9 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, a 25% spike from the previous largest drop in the second quarter 2019. The combined traditional video subscriptions for cable, telco and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) finished the quarter at an estimated 85.1 million, down more than 5.8 million in the trailing 12 months at 6.4% year-over-year.
Virtual multichannel gains helped reduce the overall loss of households subscribing to a package of live linear networks, adding 368,000 customers and reducing the combined traditional and virtual category losses to 1.5 million.
Additional findings indicate:
- The nearly 8.5 million virtual multichannel subs contributed to a combined third-quarter tally of nearly 93.6 million subscriptions.
- Kagan estimates penetrations of combined residential services dropped to less than 72% of the 126.3 million occupied households in the third quarter.
- Cable operators lost a combined 487,000 traditional multichannel customers, posting a 1% quarterly and a 3.1% annual decline.
- The telco video segment experienced its worst performance of the year, losing 192,000 subscribers to record a 1.9% quarterly and a 5.6% annual decline.
- Satellite losses weighed heavy on the market. Combined losses swelled to 1.2 million, fueling a 4.4% quarterly and a 12.3% annual drop.