U.S. pay-TV providers lost 125,000 subscribers in 2014

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
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Major pay-TV providers lost about 125,000 subscribers in 2014

  • Total Subscriber Losses were Fairly Similar to a Year Ago

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 125,000 net video subscribers in 2014. Annual net pay-TV losses in 2014 were comparable to 2013, when the same top pay-TV providers lost about 95,000 subscribers.

The top thirteen pay-TV providers account for 95.2 million subscribers — with the top nine cable companies having 49.3 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies having 34.3 million subscribers, and the two top telephone companies having 11.6 million subscribers.

Other key findings include:

  • The top nine cable companies lost about 1,195,000 video subscribers in 2014 — compared to a loss of about 1,695,000 subscribers in 2013
  • Cable video losses in 2014 were the fewest since 2008
  • The top telephone providers added 1,050,000 video subscribers in 2014 — compared to 1,430,000 net additions in 2013
  • Satellite TV providers added 20,000 video subscribers in 2014 — compared to 170,000 net additions in 2013

“2014 marked the second consecutive year for pay-TV industry net losses, but the losses remained modest again this year,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “Despite a relatively saturated market, and increasing alternatives for consumers to watch video, the top pay-TV providers have only lost about 0.2% of all subscribers over the past two years.”

Pay-TV Provider                         Subscribers at  Net Adds in
                                           End of 2014         2014
                                        --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast*                                   22,383,000    (194,000)
 Time Warner                                10,992,000    (401,000)
 Charter                                     4,293,000     (49,000)
 Cablevision                                 2,681,000    (132,000)
 Suddenlink                                  1,138,400     (49,100)
 Mediacom                                      890,000     (55,000)
 Cable ONE                                     451,217     (87,677)
 Other Major Private Cable Companies**       6,450,000    (225,000)
Total Top Cable                             49,278,617  (1,192,777)

Satellite TV Companies (DBS)
 DIRECTV                                    20,352,000      99,000
 DISH                                       13,978,000     (79,000)
Total DBS                                   34,330,000      20,000

Telephone Companies
 AT&T U-verse^                               5,943,000     660,000
 Verizon FiOS                                5,649,000     387,000
Total Top Phone                             11,592,000   1,047,000

Total Top Pay-TV Providers                  95,200,617    (125,777)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

* Comcast revised its methodology for counting subs to a Billable Customer method in 1Q 2014
** Includes LRG estimates for Cox and Bright House Networks
^ Includes LRG estimate of pro forma results from AT&T system sale to Frontier
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 WOW with 634,700 subscribers
Note that LRG consumer research finds that about 1% of households subscribe to both cable and DBS