The top pay-TV providers in the United States lost almost double the amount of video subscribers last year than they lost in 2016, which itself was a very poor year for the sector, according to research from the Leichtman Research Group.
Last year, large video providers representing about 95% of the market lost approximately 1,495,000 net video subscribers. The pro forma loss in 2016 was about 760,000 subscribers.
Currently, the pay-TV companies covered in the report have about 92.2 million video subscribers. They are divided between cable companies (about 48.1 million video subscribers), satellite services (about 31.5 subscribers), telephone companies (9.2 million subscribers) and Internet-based providers (almost 3.4 million subscribers).
Key findings of the report:
- The top six cable companies lost about 660,000 video subscribers in 2017 — compared to a loss of about 275,000 subscribers in 2016
- In 2017, the top cable providers cumulatively lost 1.4% of video subscribers — compared to a loss of 0.6% in 2016
- Satellite TV services lost about 1,550,000 subscribers in 2017 — compared to a loss of about 40,000 subscribers in 2016
- DIRECTV lost 554,000 subscribers in 2017 — compared to a gain of 1,228,000 subscribers in 2016
- In 2017, DBS services cumulatively lost 4.7% of video subscribers — compared to a loss 0.1% in 2016
- The top telephone providers lost about 885,000 video subscribers in 2017 — compared to a loss of about 1,590,000 subscribers in 2016
- AT&T U-verse lost 624,000 subscribers in 2017 — compared to a loss of 1,359,000 subscribers in 2016
- In 2017, the top Telcos cumulatively lost 8.7% of video subscribers — compared to a loss of 13.6% in 2016
- The top (publicly reporting) Internet-delivered services added about 1,600,000 subscribers in 2017 — compared to 1,145,000 net adds in 2016
- Subscribers to the top Internet-delivered services increased by 90% in 2017
- Traditional pay-TV services (not including Internet-delivered) lost about 3,095,000 subscribers in 2017 — compared to a loss of about 1,905,000 in 2016
The results are further evidence of a rapidly changing video landscape. “The pay-TV market saw net losses increase in 2017, and the continuation of a share shift from traditional services to newer Internet-delivered services,” said Bruce Leichtman, the president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a press release. “Satellite TV services, DIRECTV and DISH TV, had more combined net losses in 2017 than in any previous year, yet these losses were offset by gains from their Internet-delivered flanker brands, DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV. Overall, the top pay-TV services lost 1.6% of subscribers in 2017 compared to a loss of 0.8% in 2016.”
Last month, S&P Global Market Intelligence said that more than 37 million households exclusively will rely on broadband for video by 2022. That is almost double the number of households now served in this way.