Major U.S. pay-TV providers lost ~1.53 million subscribers in 2Q 2019

Monday, August 12th, 2019
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Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 1,530,000 Subscribers in 2Q 2019

  • Pay-TV net Losses Were More Than in any Previous Quarter

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 93% of the market – lost about 1,530,000 net video subscribers in 2Q 2019, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 420,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 86.6 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 46.5 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 27.5 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 8.8 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services 3.8 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Satellite TV services lost about 855,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019 – compared to a net loss of about 480,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018
    • DIRECTV had record net losses for the fifth consecutive quarter, while DISH TV had fewer net losses than in any quarter since 4Q 2014
  • The top seven cable companies lost about 455,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2019 – compared to a loss of about 275,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018
    • Cable net losses were more than in any quarter since 2Q 2014
  • The top telephone providers lost about 100,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2019 – compared to a loss of about 45,000 subscribers in 2Q 2018
  • Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services, Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, lost 120,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019 – compared to about 385,000 net adds in 2Q 2018
  • Over the past year, top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 5,015,000 subscribers – compared to a loss of about 1,060,000 subscribers over the prior year
    • Over the past year, DBS services lost about 3,175,000 subscribers – compared to a loss of about 1,590,000 subscribers over the prior year
    • Over the past year, publicly reporting vMVPDs lost about 340,000 subscribers – compared to a gain of 1,845,000 subscribers over the prior year

“The top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 1,530,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019. This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “With an increased focus on acquiring and retaining profitable subscribers, DBS services accounted for more than half of the net pay-TV losses in 2Q 2019, and 63% of the losses over the past year.”

                                  Subscribers at     Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers                  End of 2Q 2019   in 2Q 2019
----------------                  --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                              21,641,000    (224,000)
 Charter                              16,320,000    (141,000)
 Cox*                                  3,940,000     (40,000)
 Altice                                3,276,500     (20,800)
 Mediacom                                747,000     (17,000)
 Cable ONE                               308,493     (12,118)
 Atlantic Broadband**                    307,261        (345)
Total Top Cable                       46,540,254    (455,263)

Satellite Services (DBS)
 DIRECTV^                             17,901,000    (778,000)
 DISH TV                               9,560,000     (79,000)
Total DBS                             27,461,000    (857,000)

Phone Companies
 Verizon FiOS                          4,346,000     (52,000)
 AT&T U-verse^                         3,704,000            0
 Frontier                                738,000     (46,000)
Total Top Phone                        8,788,000     (98,000)

Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
 Sling TV                              2,472,000       48,000
 DIRECTV NOW                           1,340,000    (168,000)
Total Top vMVPD^^                      3,812,000    (120,000)

Total Top Providers                   86,601,254  (1,530,263)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* LRG estimate
** Added to top provider list in 2Q 2019, Atlantic Broadband’s reporting cycle ends one month earlier than others
^ AT&T combines totals for DIRECTV and U-verse into “Premium TV” – separate results are LRG estimates
^^ Internet-delivered (vMVPD) does not include Hulu with Live TV, YouTube TV, PlayStation Vue, or others that do not publicly report subscriber counts

Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 93% of all subscribers
Top cable does not include overbuilder WOW with 388,100 subscribers

Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions, reporting adjustments, and the addition of new providers to the list – therefore, comparing totals in this release to prior releases will not produce accurate findings