U.S. pay TV continues to shed subs

May 18, 2018
According to the Leichtman Research Group, the largest pay TV providers in the United States - representing about 95% of the market - lost ...

According to the Leichtman Research Group, the largest pay TV providers in the United States - representing about 95% of the market - lost about 305,000 net video subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a pro forma loss of about 515,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017.

The top pay TV providers now account for about 91.9 million subscribers, with the top six cable companies having 47.8 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 31.1 million, the top telephone companies 9.2 million, and the top Internet-delivered pay TV services 3.8 million.

Among the findings:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 285,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a loss about 115,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017.
  • Satellite TV services lost about 375,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a loss of about 340,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017.
  • The top telcos lost about 50,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a loss of 325,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017. Net losses for the top telcos in 1Q 2018 were the fewest in any quarter since 3Q 2015. AT&T U-verse did not report net video losses for the first time since 1Q 2015.
  • Internet-delivered services (Sling TV and DirecTV NOW) added about 405,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to about 265,000 net adds in 1Q 2017.
  • Traditional pay TV services (not including Internet-delivered services) lost about 710,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a loss of about 780,000 in 1Q 2017.

"The number of pay TV subscribers for the top providers peaked six years ago. Since 1Q 2012, top providers have lost about 3.4 million total pay TV subscribers," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. "Since the industry's peak, traditional services have lost about 7.2 million subscribers, while the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered services gained about 3.8 million subscribers."