Major U.S. pay TV providers add 260,000 subscribers in 1Q 2014

Monday, May 19th, 2014 
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Major Multi-channel video providers added about 260,000 subscribers in 1Q 2014

  • Top Cable Providers Had Fewest Quarterly Losses in Five Years

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the thirteen largest multi-channel video providers in the US — representing about 94% of the market — added about 260,000 net video subscribers in 1Q 2014, compared to a gain of about 230,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2013.

The top multi-channel video providers account for nearly 95.8 million subscribers — with the top nine cable companies having 50.4 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies having 34.4 million subscribers, and top telephone companies having about 11 million subscribers.

Other key findings include:

  • The top nine cable companies lost about 50,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2014 — the fewest quarterly losses since 1Q 2009
  • Satellite TV providers added 52,000 subscribers in 1Q 2014 — compared to a gain of 57,000 in 1Q 2013
  • The top telephone providers added 258,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2014 — compared to 401,000 net additions in 1Q 2013
  • Verizon FiOS’s net adds in 1Q 2014 were the fewest in any quarter since 2Q 2006
  • Cumulative net additions for the top multi-channel video providers in 1Q 2014 were the most in any quarter since 1Q 2012
  • Over the past year, multi-channel video providers lost about 37,000 subscribers, similar to a loss of about 43,000 over the prior year

“In the first quarter of 2014, the multi-channel video industry had its best quarter in two years, and cable providers had the fewest video losses in any quarter in the past five years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “Industrywide net losses of about 40,000 subscribers over the past year were nearly identical to losses over the prior year.”

                              Subscribers at  Net Adds in  Net Adds in 
Multi-Channel Video Provider  End of 1Q 2014      1Q 2014      1Q 2013
----------------------------  --------------  -----------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast^                         22,601,000       24,000     (25,000)
 Time Warner                      11,359,000     (34,000)    (118,000)
 Charter                           4,355,000       13,000     (35,000)
 Cablevision                       2,799,000     (14,000)      (5,000)
 Suddenlink                        1,187,500        2,400          800
 Mediacom                            937,000      (8,000)      (1,000)
 Cable ONE                           524,563     (14,331)      (5,435)
 Other Major Private
   Cable Companies*                6,655,000     (20,000)     (40,000)
Total Top Cable                   50,418,063     (50,931)    (228,635)

Satellite TV Companies (DBS)
 DIRECTV                          20,265,000       12,000       21,000
 DISH                             14,097,000       40,000       36,000
Total Top DBS                     34,362,000       52,000       57,000

Telephone Companies
 AT&T U-verse                      5,661,000      201,000      232,000
 erizon FiOS                       5,319,000       57,000      169,000
Total Top Phone                   10,980,000      258,000      401,000
----------------------------  --------------  -----------  -----------
Total Multi-Channel Video         95,760,063      259,069      229,365

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

* Includes LRG estimates for Cox and Bright House Networks
^ Comcast revised its methodology for counting subscribers to a Billable Customer method in 1Q 2014
Top cable companies do not include overbuilder WOW with 694,300 subscribers
Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions
Top multi-channel video providers represent approximately 94% of all subscribers
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Note that LRG consumer research finds that about 1% of households subscribe to both cable and DBS