U.S. cord cutting slows while satellite suffers record customer losses in Q2 2018

Thursday, August 16th, 2018
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Cord cutting slows while direct broadcast satellite suffers record customer losses in Q2 2018

  • The latest legacy and virtual video subscriber figures paint an ameliorating picture for the sector

MONTEREY, Calif. — The pressure on traditional multichannel subscriptions abated in the second quarter – a positive direction that is further supported by the forwarded momentum of virtual services Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, according to the Q2 2018 U.S. Multichannel Subscriber Report by Kagan, the media research group in S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Combined, the cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telco multichannel sectors lost 860,640 video subscribers in the three-month period ended June 30, 2018, ending the quarter at 92.2 million, including 89.4 million residential customers. The DBS platform logged its second largest quarterly decline on record, losing a combined 478,000 customers.

Throwing DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV into the mix reduces the quarterly subscription losses by approximately 45%, raising the residential figure to 93.5 million.

Additional takeaways from Kagan’s 2nd-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber report:

  • The residential multichannel penetration rate stood at 75% as of June 30 when including the virtual multichannel services owned by AT&T and DISH Network (DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV).
  • Cable logged its largest second-quarter video subscriber drop since 2015, bringing year-to-date losses to 685,790.
  • The telco video segment improved dramatically during the period, reducing its losses to just 56,000, or just a fraction of the pattern of quarterly losses established in the last two years.