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SNL Kagan: Cable Subs Fall In 15 Biggest Markets

Cable operators lost 3.8% of their subscribers in the top 15 markets during the first quarter, according to a new report by SNL Kagan, which found that satellite and telco providers picked up nearly the same number of video customers.

While the number of cable subscribers fell to 23.2 million from 24.1 million in big cities, satellite saw a small increase of 0.1% to 10.6 million. Telco subs jumped 24% to 4.4 million.  Overall, the number of multichannel subscribers fell 0.1% to 38.2 million in the quarter in the biggest 15 markets.

In some big markets, the total number of multichannel video subscribers fell significantly. New York registered a 0.8% drop. In Chicago, subs were down 2.3% and in Dallas they were off 5.2%. The biggest drop was registered in Atlanta, where there was a 5.2% decrease. Subs also fell in Detroit, Phoenix, Seattle and Minneapolis/St. Paul.

In Los Angeles, the number of multichannel subscribers rose 3.9%. Gains were also seen in Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Houston, and Tampa/St. Petersburg.

The gains in Los Angeles represented a 2% pickup by satellite and a 50.9% jump by telco. Cable subscribers fell by 4%.

Comcast is the largest multichannel operator in the top 15 markets with 11.6 million subs, followed by DirecTV, Dish Network and Time Warne Cable, SNL Kagan said.

 Telco video market share is creeping up in major markets, reaching 23% in Dallas, nearly 20% in Washington, D.C. and more than 17%in Tampa-St. Petersburg and Houston..

Outside the top 15 markets, telco video market share is more than 23% in Baltimore (No. 26), at 20% in Richmond-Petersburg, Va., (No. 57) and 15% in Providence-New Bedford, R.I.-Mass. (No. 53), all FiOS markets. The highest market share for AT&T's U-verse is in Houston at 17%, followed by Dallas at 13%, Kagan said.