Less than half of the 100 pay-TV providers included in the informitv Multiscreen Index reported subscriber gains in Q1 of this year, with the overall base down by some 5 million customers (1.14 percent) in the period.
The decrease was partly due to the merger between Dish TV and Videocon d2h in India. Excluding those two platforms, the overall subs base grew by 0.36 percent (1.5 million), the lowest quarterly gain reported by informitv, which notes that the average increase over the last three years has been 1.15 percent.
In EMEA, sub numbers were up by 0.19 million in the period. Gains were reported at platforms such as Sky (with 22.9 million customers across Europe), Rostelcom and Cyfrowy Polsat. The largest loss was for Canal+ International, which shed 212,000 subscribers in the quarter.
In the U.S., the top ten platforms lost 212,000 subs in Q1, including DIRECTV (188,000) and DISH Network (185,000). The biggest U.S. gains were seen at DIRECTV NOW (336,000 subscribers, taking its total to 1.42 million) and Sling TV (91,000, for a total of 2.30 million.)
While the Multiscreen Index now includes online distribution as a separate category, it does not cover YouTube TV or Netflix.
“Traditional television subscriber numbers are flat or falling for some services and tracking them through mergers and acquisitions, together with changes in reporting methodologies is increasingly complex,” observed Dr William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “Only 48 of the 100 services in the index reported subscriber gains in the first quarter. That does not include some services that only report figures once or twice a year.”