Major U.S. pay TV providers lose 150,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014

Friday, November 14th, 2014 
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Major pay-TV providers lost about 150,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014

  • Top Pay-TV Providers Down About 100,000 Subscribers Over the Past Year

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the US — representing about 95% of the market — lost about 150,000 net video subscribers in 3Q 2014, compared to a loss of about 25,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2013, and more net losses than in any previous third quarter.

The top pay-TV providers account for 95.3 million subscribers — with the top nine cable companies having nearly 49.5 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies having over 34.2 million subscribers, and the top telephone companies having about 11.6 million subscribers.

Other key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top nine cable companies lost about 440,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a loss of about 600,000 subscribers in 3Q 2013
  • Time Warner Cable lost 182,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a loss of 304,000 in 3Q 2013
  • Satellite TV providers lost 40,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a gain of 174,000 in 3Q 2013
  • DirecTV lost 28,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a gain of 139,000 subscribers in 3Q 2013
  • The top telephone providers added 330,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to 400,000 net additions in 3Q 2013
  • Over the past year, major pay-TV providers lost about 105,000 subscribers — compared to a loss of about 45,000 over the prior year

“The pay-TV industry is characterized by seasonality. While the first and second quarters of 2014 showed slight industrywide improvements over 2013, the third quarter was down from a year ago,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “If recent history is an indicator, the pay-TV industry will follow the fourth quarter trend, and close 2014 with a modest subscriber gain in the quarter.”

Pay-TV Provider                         Subscribers at  Net Adds in
                                        End of 3Q 2014      3Q 2014
                                        --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                                    22,376,000     (81,000)
 Time Warner                                11,030,000    (182,000)
 Charter                                     4,296,000     (24,000)
 Cablevision                                 2,715,000     (56,000)
 Suddenlink                                  1,171,000       2,200
 Mediacom                                      900,000     (19,000)
 Cable ONE                                     476,233     (14,076)
 Other Major Private Cable Companies*        6,505,000     (65,000)
Total Top Cable                             49,469,233    (438,876)

Satellite TV Companies (DBS)
 DIRECTV                                    20,203,000     (28,000)
 DISH                                       14,041,000     (12,000)
Total DBS                                   34,244,000     (40,000)

Telephone Companies
 AT&T U-verse                                6,067,000     216,000
 Verizon FiOS                                5,533,000     114,000
Total Top Phone                             11,600,000     330,000

Total Top Pay-TV Providers                  95,313,233    (148,876)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

* Includes LRG estimates for Cox and Bright House Networks
Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 95% of all subscribers
Top cable companies do not include overbuilder WOW with 653,800 subscribers
Note that LRG consumer research finds that about 1% of households subscribe to both cable and DBS