Major U.S. pay TV providers lost 656,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017

Thursday, August 17th, 2017 
Leichtman Research logo

Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 665,000 Subscribers in 2Q 2017

  • Pay-TV Industry Losses Slightly Lower than in Last Year’s Second Quarter

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the US — representing about 95% of the market — lost about 656,000 net video subscribers in 2Q 2017, compared to a loss of about 715,000 subscribers in 2Q 2016.

The top pay-TV providers account for 92.6 million subscribers — with the top six cable companies having 48.4 million video subscribers, satellite TV services over 32.7 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.5 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered pay-TV services having about 1.9 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 190,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2017 — compared to a loss of about 225,000 subscribers in 2Q 2016
    • Top MSO net losses were the fewest in any second quarter since 2006*
  • Satellite TV services lost about 435,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017 — compared to a gain of about 15,000 subscribers in 2Q 2016
    • DBS net losses were more than in any previous quarter
  • The top telephone providers lost about 270,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2017 — compared to a loss of about 550,000 subscribers in 2Q 2016
    • Traditional pay-TV services (not including Internet-delivered services) lost about 895,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017 — compared to a loss of about 760,000 in 2Q 2016

“The pay-TV market lost about 655,000 subscribers in the traditionally weak second quarter, with overall net losses slightly lower than in last year’s second quarter,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “While satellite TV services, DIRECTV and DISH, had more combined net losses in 2Q 2017 than in any previous quarter, these losses were partially offset by gains from their Internet-delivered flanker brands, DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV. These Internet-delivered services (along with the others that do not publicly report results) are now clearly part of providers’ segmentation strategies and consumers’ pay-TV options.”

                                  Subscribers at     Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers                  End of 2Q 2017   in 2Q 2017
----------------                  --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                              22,516,000     (33,000)
 Charter*                             17,071,000     (76,000)
 Altice                                3,463,000     (37,000)
 Mediacom                                829,000      (3,000)
 Cable ONE**                             297,990      (9,197)
 Other major private company***        4,245,000     (30,000)
Total Top Cable                       48,421,990    (188,197)

Satellite Services (DBS)
 DIRECTV                              20,856,000    (156,000)
 DISH-DBS^                            11,892,000    (281,000)
Total DBS                             32,748,000    (437,000)

Phone Companies
 Verizon FiOS                          4,666,000     (15,000)
 AT&T U-verse                          3,853,000    (195,000)
 Frontier                              1,007,000     (58,000)
Total Top Phone                        9,526,000    (268,000)

Internet-Delivered
 Sling TV^                             1,440,000      85,000
 DIRECTV NOW                             491,000     152,000
Total Internet-Delivered               1,931,000     237,000

Total Top Providers                   92,626,990    (656,197)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* Charter includes a change in the seasonal customer program for former Bright House properties
** Cable ONE does not include the NewWave acquisition in May 2017
*** Includes LRG estimate for Cox
^ DISH reports combined DBS and Sling TV subscribers, the individual counts for DISH and Sling TV are LRG estimates
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 95% of all subscribers
Top cable does not include overbuilder WOW with 458,200 subscribers
Internet-delivered does not include PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, or YouTube TV which have not publicly reported sub totals
Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions, and reporting adjustments — therefore, comparing totals in this release to prior releases may not produce accurate findings

Links: Leichtman Research