New research from the Leichtman Research Group found that pay-TV providers representing about 93% of the market lost approximately 1.74 million net video subscribers during the third quarter of the year. That’s considerably worse than the 975,000 pay-TV subscribers lost during the year-ago quarter.
“This marked the fifth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses,” Bruce Leichtman, the president and principal analyst of the group that bears his name, said in a press release. “AT&T, the leading pay-TV provider in the U.S., accounted for 79% of the net losses in the quarter compared to 30% of net losses in 3Q 2018. This change is largely the result of AT&T’s strategic decision to increasingly focus on retaining and acquiring more profitable subscribers.”
Pay-TV Subscribers Lost
Key report findings for the third quarter of this year:
- Satellite TV services lost about 1.14 million subscribers, compared to a net loss of about 725,000 in the year-ago quarter. DIRECTV had record net losses for the sixth consecutive quarter, while DISH TV had fewer net losses than in any quarter since the third quarter of 2014.
- The top seven cable companies lost about 410,000 video subscribers. They lost about 245,000 subscribers in third quarter of 2018.
- The top telephone providers lost about 210,000 video subscribers, compared to a loss of about 80,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2018.
- Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services Sling TV and AT&T NOW added about 20,000 subscribers, compared to about 75,000 net adds during the year-ago quarter.
- AT&T had a net loss of about 1,370,000 subscribers across its three pay-TV services (DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, and AT&T NOW), compared to a net loss of about 295,000 subscribers during the year-ago quarter.
The final numbers told the story. Six of the seven pay-TV providers were negative in net subscriber adds: Comcast (down 238,000), Charter (down 75,000), Cox (down 40,000), Altice (down 31,900), Mediacom (down 18,000) and CableONE (down 10,430). The only winner was Atlantic Broadband, which had net adds of 5,294.
Satellite companies also struggled, with DirecTV having net losses of 1,073,000 and Dish TV having net losses of 66,000. On the phone company front, Verizon was down a net of 66,000 subscribers, AT&T U-verse was down 104,000 and Frontier was down 40,000. Two vMVPDs had mixed results: Sling TV added 214,000 net subs, while AT&T Now was down 195,000 net subscribers.