Top U.S. Pay-TV Providers Shed 835,000 Subs in Latest Quarter


The top 10 television service providers in the U.S. lost 835,000 television customers between them in the latest quarter, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index.

This figure represents a loss of slightly less than 1 percent of their combined subscriber base. All ten reported a net loss of TV subscribers. The top 10 services have 85.26 million television customers between them, accounting for more than 70 percent of U.S. television homes.

DIRECTV lost just over a quarter of a million traditional television subscribers, falling to 20.60 million, while AT&T U-verse shed 134,000 subscribers, ending the quarter with 3.69 million. Comcast lost 134,000 TV subscribers, its largest loss in recent quarters, reducing its total to 21.34 million.

DISH Network saw its subs fall by 129,000 to 13.20 million, including Sling TV, after removing 145,000 subscribers in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands following Hurricane Maria. Charter, which is the third largest provider in the U.S., lost 104,000 TV subs, marking the sixth consecutive quarterly customer loss, reducing its total to 16.54 million.

The other five out of the top 10—Verizon Fios, Optimum, Suddenlink, Frontier and Mediacom—all reported smaller losses of between 6,000 and 26,000 television subscribers. The top 10 services do not include DIRECTV NOW online service, which is reported separately. It gained nearly 300,000 customers. Cox Communications is also not included, as it does not report subscriber numbers.

“These 10 television service providers have lost over 2.5 million subscribers over the previous 12 months,” said informitv analyst Dr. Sue Farrell. “That is just under 3 percent of their customer base.”

“Online television services like Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW are gaining customers but currently at a lower rate than traditional pay television is losing subscribers,” added Dr. William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “DIRECTV NOW has achieved a total of 787,000 customers since it launched at the end of November 2016. However, over the same period DIRECTV and AT&T U-verse lost just under a million customers.”