The largest pay-TV service providers in the U.S. lost some 150,000 video subscribers on a net basis in 3Q 2014 – the most of any previous 3Q, according to new market data from the Leichtman Research Group (LRG). The 3Q loss is greater than that for 3Q 2013, when pay-TV providers lost a net 25,000 video subscribers.
Accounting for 95 percent of the U.S. market, the nation’s largest pay-TV service providers have 95.3 million subscribers. The top nine cable companies account for nearly 49.5 million, according to LRG, while subscriber numbers among satellite TV companies total over 34.2 million. The nation’s largest telcos have about 11.6 million.
Uneven Pay-TV Subscriber Losses
Other key findings for 3Q include:
- The top nine cable companies lost about 440,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a loss of about 600,000 subscribers in 3Q 2013;
- Time Warner Cable lost 182,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a loss of 304,000 in 3Q 2013;
- Satellite TV providers lost 40,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a gain of 174,000 in 3Q 2013;
- DirecTV lost 28,000 subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to a gain of 139,000 subscribers in 3Q 2013;
- The top telephone providers added 330,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2014 — compared to 400,000 net additions in 3Q 2013;
- Over the past year, major pay-TV providers lost about 105,000 subscribers — compared to a loss of about 45,000 over the prior year.
Commenting on LRG’s latest market data on pay-TV subscriber numbers, company president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman stated, “The pay-TV industry is characterized by seasonality. While the first and second quarters of 2014 showed slight industry-wide improvements over 2013, the third quarter was down from a year ago.
“If recent history is an indicator, the pay-TV industry will follow the fourth quarter trend, and close 2014 with a modest subscriber gain in the quarter.”