tv_watchingCable, Telco, and DBS video subscribers fell 0.8% during the first quarter of the year compared to the last quarter of 2017, according to Kagan.

The rate of decline was somewhat slower than for the same period in 2017. The research firm found that multichannel subscriptions fell to 93.2 million. Of those, 90.3 million were residential accounts.

The research also may suggest an important evolutionary trend: Quarterly subscription losses are halved when virtual providers DIRECT NOW and Sling TV are included. With those included, the residential subscription figure is 94.1 million.

Other takeaways from the research:

  • The residential multichannel penetration rate stood at 76.1% as of March 31 when the VSPs owned by AT&T and DISH Network (DIRECTV NOW and Sling TV) are included.
  • Cable operators logged their largest first-quarter video subscriber decline on record, with the top two MSOs, Comcast and Charter, accounting for 59% of the drop.
  • Telco video appears to be regaining its footing as AT&T’s U-verse stabilizes. The platform’s video customer losses fell below 100,000 for the first time since the third quarter of 2015.
  • DBS losses ramped back up in the first quarter, bringing the sector’s total down to 31.1 million.

Kagan is a media research group within S&P Global Market Intelligence. In February, S&P Global Market Intelligence said that more than 37 million households will rely exclusively on broadband for video by 2022. That’s double the amount that relies on broadband now. The firm also expects 38.4% of cable and telco wireline broadband subscribers to bypass legacy multichannel distribution in 2022. These households will rely on a combination of over-the-air and broadband for home entertainment video.

Not surprisingly, the move to broadband is being driven by the young. In April, the Leichtman Research Group said that 53% of people in the U.S. between 18 and 34 years of age live stream Internet-deliver pay-TV.

Image courtesy of flickr user D.Reichardt.

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