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Top U.S. MVPDs Shed 190K Video Subs in Q3

The third quarter of the 2015 offered another mix of good news and bad news for the U.S. pay TV industry. Most major MVPDs are still losing video subs, but, taken as a whole, they’re losing them at a much slower rate.

Amid the small but growing cord-cutting trend, the top 13 pay TV providers in the U.S., representing about 95% of the market, lost 190,000 net video subs in Q3, versus a loss of about 155,000 subs in the year-ago period, Leichtman Research Group said in a  report issued Monday.

The top nine cable MSOs Major cable operators posted their best Q3 result in the category since 2006, but still shed 145,000 in the period, well below the 440,000 they lost in Q3 2014, and the 600,000 they lost in Q3 2013, LRG noted.

DirecTV (now part of AT&T) and  Dish Network (including Sling TV) added 3,000 subs combined, versus a loss of 40,000 in the year-ago period.

The top telcos lost 49,000 video subs in Q3, compared to a net gain of 323,000  a year earlier, and was the worst performance in any quarter for the group since they started offering video services in 2006, LRG said.

The top MVPDs account for 94 million subs, with major MSOs accounting for 48.8 million, versus 33.5 million for Dish Network and DirecTV, and 11.7 million among the top telcos.

“Overall, net losses among major pay-TV providers (including DISH’s Sling TV) in 3Q 2015 were similar to a year ago, but the quarter also displayed share shifting continuing to readjust within the category,” Bruce Leichtman, LRG’s president and principal analyst, said in a statement. “With AT&T adjusting focus from its U-verse TV service to its newly acquired DirecTV satellite service, Telcos reported their worst quarter ever in 3Q 2015.  Conversely, top cable providers cumulatively had their best third quarter since 2006 – the year when Telcos began offering video services.”