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LRG: Top US Pay TV Providers Shed 470K Subs in Q2

Shedding more light on the pay TV industry's recent rough patch, Leichtman Research Group said that the 13 largest pay TV providers in the U.S., representing about 95% of the market, lost about 470,000 net video subs in the second quarter of 2015, widened from a loss of about 305,000 video subs in the year-ago quarter.

It marked the biggest loss in the category for the period ever, LRG said. SNL Kagan, by the way, announced last week that a sharp rise in cord-cutting during the period paved the way for losses of 625,000 subs in Q2. MoffettNathanson, meanwhile, pinned the Q2 pay TV loss at about 566,000 subs

Despite that, the top nine cable MSOs showed a huge improvement, losing 260,000 video subs in Q2, versus a loss of 510,000 in the year-ago quarter. That marked the fewest losses in any Q2, a quarter generally plagued by “seasonality” (as students and snowbirds make their moves for the summer), by cable since 2008.

Satellite TV providers (Dish Network and DirecTV, now part of AT&T) lost 214,000, widened from a loss of 78,000 in the year-ago quarter.

The top telcos added 4,000 video subs, versus 284,000 net adds in Q2 2014.

Over the past year, the top pay TV providers, including Dish’s Sling TV OTT service, lost about 370,000 subs, compared to a loss of about 5,000 subs over the prior year.

Those top pay TV providers now have about 94.9 million subs, with the top nine cable MSOs accounting for 49 million, satellite 34.2 million, and top telcos 11.7 million.

 “The top pay-TV providers lost about 470,000 subscribers in the traditionally weak second quarter, with net losses in 2Q 2015 exceeding the previous low-water mark of about 360,000 losses in 2Q 2013,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. 

“Cumulatively, Telcos and DBS providers both had their weakest quarter ever for net video additions, leaving the door open for cable providers to have their fewest cumulative losses in a second quarter in seven years,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement.