U.S. multichannel video losses nearly 4 million in 2018

Monday, March 11th, 2019
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S&P Global Market Intelligence: Q4’18 multichannel video losses propel full-year drop to nearly 4 million

  • Kagan’s fourth-quarter 2018 U.S. multichannel subscription report puts legacy video subscribers below 90 million

MONTEREY, Calif. — Traditional multichannel video losses swelled in the fourth quarter to push the full-year decline to a new benchmark in changing viewer preferences.

Combined, the cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telecom multichannel sectors lost nearly 1.1 million subscriptions in the fourth quarter, which pushed the full-year decline to 4 million. DBS services accounted for more than half of the annual loss.

Virtual platforms partially offset the traditional multichannel declines, keeping those customers in a subscription package of live linear channels, but gains to services such as Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV were not enough to prevent the space from shrinking. Traditional and virtual multichannel subscriptions combined fell nearly 1.3 million for the year.

Additional takeaways from Kagan’s 4th-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber report:

  • The residential penetration rate for virtual and traditional multichannel services ticked down to 75% in the fourth quarter of 2018.
  • Multiple-system operators (MSOs) wrapped up 2018 with another round of quarterly losses, bringing the platform’s annual decline to nearly 1.3 million, versus a drop of 997,000 in 2017.
  • Telco video services cut combined annual subscriber losses for a second consecutive year, losing 351,000 subs to end 2018 at 10.3 million.
    DIRECTV and DISH each lost more than 1 million subs in 2018.