Top U.S. Pay TV Providers Lost 405K Subs in Q3: Analyst

The largest U.S. pay TV providers, representing about 95% of the market, lost about 405,000 net video subscribers in the third quarter, widened from a loss of about 250,000 subs in the year-ago period, Leichtman Research Group found in its latest analysis.

Two top OTT TV services – Sling TV and DirecTV Now – combined to add about 535,000 subs in Q3, LRG said. DirecTV Now added about 296,000 in Q3, for a total of 787,000, and LRG estimates that Sling TV tacked on 240,000 in the quarter to extend its total to 1.68 million.

At the end of Q3, the top MVPDs accounted for 92.2 million subs – 48.1 million among the top six cable operators, 32.3 million for satellite TV, 9.3 million for the largest telcos, and 2.5 million for the largest internet-delivered pay TV services.

Broken down by area, those top MSOs lost about 290,000 video subs in Q3, widened from a loss of 90,000 in Q3 2016. Satellite TV providers shed about 475,000 in Q3 (more than in any previous quarter), compared to a small gain of 5,000 subs in the year-ago period, LRG said.

“The top two Internet-delivered pay-TV services added over a half million subscribers in 3Q 2017, bringing their combined total to nearly 2.5 million subscribers, and further entrenching this newer form of delivery as part of today’s pay-TV industry,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a statement. “Overall, the top pay-TV providers lost about 155,000 more subscribers in 3Q 2017 than in 3Q 2016.”