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U.S. Cable Narrows Video Sub Losses In Q1

Top U.S. cable operators still lost subs in the first quarter, but the 50,000 shed in the period also marked the fewest losses in a five-year span, according to fresh data from Leichtman Research Group.

LRG said the thirteen largest MVPDs in the U.S., representing about 94% of the market, added roughly 260,000 net video subs in the first quarter, up slightly from a gain of about 230,000 subs in the year-ago period. Over the past year, the top MVPDs lost a collective 37,000 subs, similar to a loss of about 43,000 over the prior year, LRG noted.

The top nine MSOs lost about 50,000 video subs in the first quarter, the fewest since 2009, while DirecTV and Dish Network added 52,000, off from 57,000 adds in the year-ago period.

The top U.S. telcos added 258,000 video subs in the first quarter of 2014, well off 401,000 net adds in the first quarter of 2013. Of that group, Verizon’s FiOS TV net adds were the fewest in any quarter since the second quarter of 2006, LRG noted.

Overall, the top MVPDs in the U.S. accounted for nearly 95.8 million subs, with the top nine cable MSOs accounting for 50.4 million, versus satellite’s 34.4 million, and the top telcos’ 11 million.

“In the first quarter of 2014, the multi-channel video industry had its best quarter in two years, and cable providers had the fewest video losses in any quarter in the past five years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement.