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U.S. Pay-TV Services Shed More Than Half a Million Subs in Q1


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The top ten pay-TV service providers in the U.S. lost more than half a million subscribers in the first quarter of 2017, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index, marking the largest loss for the country so far.

That represents a quarterly subscriber reduction of 0.63 percent, which is the largest loss to date. It compares to a loss of 162,000 for the top ten services in the previous quarter and a small gain of 18,000 in the first quarter of 2016.

Comcast actually gained subscribers, though, adding 41,000 television customers, an increase of 149,000 year-on-year (0.7 percent). Mediacom was the only other service provider in the top ten to gain TV subscribers, with an addition of 4,000—although it lost 21,000 year-on-year.

DIRECTV, meanwhile, reported no change for the quarter in the U.S. but gained 900,000 year-on-year, an increase of 4.5 percent. That excludes subscribers to the DIRECTV NOW online service. AT&T U-verse lost 233,000 TV customers in the first quarter (down 5.5 percent), making a 23.2 percent year-on-year loss of 1.21 million. DISH Network lost 143,000 subscribers, contributing to a year-on-year loss of 346,000 (2.5 percent). Charter Spectrum lost 100,000 TV subs—its fourth consecutive quarterly loss—resulting in a 2 percent year-on-year reduction of 350,000. Frontier lost 80,000 subscribers, after having shed 358,000 the previous quarter. The Altice-owned Optimum and Suddenlink lost 15,000 and 20,000 residential television customers, respectively. Verizon Fios lost 13,000 TV customers. Verizon transferred nearly 1.19 million customers to Frontier in April 2016, reporting an organic gain of 3,000 since then.

“This is the largest quarterly television subscriber loss we have seen so far in the United States,” said informitv analyst Dr. Sue Farrell. “A 0.63 percent quarterly reduction is clearly significant and implies an acceleration in subscriber losses.”

“This needs to be viewed in context. It is important to remember that these ten services still have 87.93 million television subscribers between them,” added Dr. William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “They continue to account for three-quarters of all television homes in the United States.”



About Kristin Brzoznowski

Kristin Brzoznowski is the executive editor of World Screen. She can be reached at kbrzoznowski@worldscreen.com.

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