Major U.S. pay TV providers lost ~415,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018

Monday, August 13th, 2018
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Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 415,000 Subscribers in 2Q 2018

  • Pay-TV Industry Losses were Lower than in any Second Quarter Since 2014

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 95% of the market – lost about 415,000 net video subscribers in 2Q 2018, compared to a pro forma loss of about 660,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 91.3 million subscribers – with the top six cable companies having 47.4 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 30.6 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.1 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered pay-TV services 4.2 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 275,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2018 – compared to a loss about 190,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017
  • Satellite TV services lost about 480,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018 – compared to a loss of about 470,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017
    • DBS net losses were more than in any previous quarter
    • Net losses for DIRECTV were more than in any previous quarter
  • The top telephone providers lost about 45,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2018 – compared to a loss of 270,000 subscribers in 2Q 2017
    • Net losses for the top Telcos were the fewest in any quarter since 3Q 2015
    • AT&T U-verse reported net video additions for the first time since 1Q 2015
  • Internet-delivered services (Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW) added about 385,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018 – compared to about 270,000 net adds in 2Q 2017
  • Traditional pay-TV services (not including Internet-delivered services) lost about 800,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018 – compared to a loss of about 930,000 in 2Q 2017

“The top pay-TV providers lost about 415,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018. This marked the fewest net losses in the traditionally weak second quarter since 2014,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The two publicly reporting Internet-delivered pay-TV services now have over 4 million subscribers. This newer segment of the industry has helped to mitigate overall pay-TV losses, while also contributing to a share shift from traditional services. This shift is both a product of consumers opting for more economical services, as well as changes in providers’ strategies.”

                                  Subscribers at    Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers                  End of 2Q 2018  in 2Q 2018
----------------                  --------------  ----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                              22,121,000   (140,000)
 Charter*                             16,682,000    (57,000)
 Cox**                                 4,065,000    (35,000)
 Altice                                3,350,900    (24,200)
 Mediacom                                808,000     (9,000)
 Cable ONE                               340,112    (10,762)
Total Top Cable                       47,367,012   (275,962)

Satellite Services (DBS)
 DIRECTV                              19,984,000   (286,000)
 DISH TV                              10,653,000   (192,000)
Total DBS                             30,637,000   (478,000)

Phone Companies
 Verizon FiOS                          4,560,000    (37,000)
 AT&T U-verse                          3,680,000      23,000
 Frontier                                902,000    (32,000)
Total Top Phone                        9,142,000    (46,000)

 Sling TV^                             2,344,000      41,000
 DIRECTV NOW                           1,809,000     342,000
Total Top Internet-Delivered^^         4,153,000     383,000
                                  --------------  ----------
Total Top Providers                   91,299,012   (416,962)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* In 2Q 2018, Charter revised historical customer data and results using consistent definitions and reporting methodologies across all legacy companies
** LRG estimate
^ Includes subscribers to Sling International and Sling Latino
^^ Internet-delivered does not include PlayStation Vue, Hulu with Live TV, or YouTube TV, which do not publicly report subscribers
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 419,900 subscribers

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