U.S. virtual multichannel growth slows in 1Q 2019

Friday, May 24th, 2019
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Q1’19 Multichannel Marked By Slowing Virtual Growth

  • But the 434,350 net gains blunted the overall multichannel rate of decline

MONTEREY, CA — Virtual multichannel subscriber growth slowed in the first-quarter 2019, increasing 5.8% from the end of 2018. This compares to an 11.8% compound quarterly growth rate between fourth-quarter 2017 and fourth-quarter 2018.

Kagan, a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence, estimates the segment reached 7.9 million subscribers as of March 31, 2019, accounting for 8.2% of the virtual and traditional total subs.

Virtual multichannel trailblazers Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, which account for 50% of the segment, continue to show signs of slowing momentum. DIRECTV NOW notably logged a second straight quarter in negative territory.

Additional takeaways from Kagan’s 1st-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber report:

  • Combined cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telecommunications (telco) subscriptions fell by 1.4 million, making the three-month period ended March 31, 2019 the largest single-quarter decline to date for the traditional universe.
  • Satellite accounted for the bulk of the traditional decline. Combined quarterly net losses for DIRECTV and DISH Network continued to creep toward 1 million.
  • An estimated 68% of occupied U.S. households subscribed to traditional multichannel in the first quarter. Combining virtual and traditional subscriptions pushes the metric up to 75%.