U.S. traditional video subscribers down nearly 1.9 million in 3Q 2019

Thursday, November 14th, 2019
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Q3 ’19 Traditional Video Decline Stretches To Nearly 1.9 Million

MONTEREY, CA — U.S. multichannel defections ballooned in the third quarter, amplified by tighter promotions at a time when consumers need little additional motivation to seek over-the-top alternatives, according to Kagan, a TMT research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Kagan estimates traditional multichannel subscribers fell by nearly 1.9 million in the three months ended Sept. 30, a 25% spike from the previous largest drop in the second quarter 2019. The combined traditional video subscriptions for cable, telco and direct-broadcast-satellite (DBS) finished the quarter at an estimated 85.1 million, down more than 5.8 million in the trailing 12 months at a 6.4% year-over-year clip.

Virtual multichannel gains helped reduce the overall loss of households subscribing to a package of live linear networks, adding 368,000 customers and reducing the combined traditional and virtual category losses to 1.5 million.

Additional takeaways from Kagan’s 3rd-quarter U.S. Multichannel Subscriber report:

  • The nearly 8.5 million virtual multichannel subs contributed to a combined third quarter tally of nearly 93.6 million subscriptions.
  • We estimate penetrations of combined residential services dropped to less than 72% of the 126.3 million occupied households in the third quarter.
  • Cable operators lost a combined 487,000 traditional multichannel customers, posting a 1% quarterly and a 3.1% annual decline.
  • The telco video segment experienced its worst performance of the year, losing 192,000 subscribers to record a 1.9% quarterly and a 5.6% annual decline.
  • Satellite losses weighed heavy on the market. Combined losses swelled to 1.2 million, fueling a 4.4% quarterly and a 12.3% annual drop.