Multichannel video subscribers declined by one million in 3Q18, according to a report from Kagan. The satellite DBS segment was hit particularly hard.

The group cited these accelerating losses from satellite providers and slowing growth in over-the-top offerings from Sling TV, DirecTV Now and other virtual providers as reasons for the downturn. Kagan is a research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence.

In all, the cable, DBS and telco multichannel sector lost 1.2 million video subscribers in the quarter ending on September 30. The sector now serves 91 million subscribers. About 88.2 million of those are residential. The traditional segment of the market lost 2.8 million subscribers in the trailing 9 months, while the virtual segment gained 2.1 million during that period.

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Other takeaways from the multichannel video subscribers report:

  • The residential penetration rate stood at 76.2% as of Sept. 30 when including traditional multichannel and the estimated virtual multichannel universe.
  • DBS had its worst quarter on record with a loss of 726,000 subscribers.
  • Cable operators lost nearly 1.1 million subscribers year-to-date as of Sept. 30, their worst performance at the three-quarter mark since 2014.
  • Traditional telco subscriptions fell by 94,000. By itself, Verizon shed a net 63,000 subs.

The traditional video sector has had a hard time as streaming services make cord cutting and thinner bundles increasingly available and attractive. It’s been a tough year. In May, Kagan said that cable, telco and DBS subscriptions fell 0.8% during the first quarter of the year compared to the fourth quarter of 2017, though the rate of decline had slowed compared to the earlier quarter. By the end of the first quarter, there were 93.2 million subscribers, of which 90.3 million were residential accounts.

The press release on the most recent results noted a “brief wave of optimism” had existed during the summer. Kagan reported in August that the rate at which people were leaving traditional providers had slowed. The report said that these providers had lost 860,640 subscriptions during the second quarter, which ended on June 30. That had brought the number of subscribers to 92.2 million, 89.4 million of which were residential.

Image courtesy of flickr user D.Reichardt.

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