Telco dips for first time as major US pay-TV providers lose about 385,000 subs in 2015 | Media Analysis | Business
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A survey from the Leichtman Research Group has revealed that 2015 was a tough year for the US pay-TV arena, with the 13 largest pay-TV providers losing around 385,000 net video subscribers in the year.

LRG noted that top pay-TV providers accounted for 94.2 million subscribers - with the top nine cable companies having over 49 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies about 33.7 million subscribers, and the top telephone companies nearly 11.5 million subscribers.

Yet beneath these numbers was the fact that the industry lost so many subs. The 2015 losses compared with a dip of 150,000 subscribers in 2014, and a loss of about 100,000 subscribers in 2013.

The top nine cable companies alone lost about 345,000 video subscribers in 2015, compared with around 1.2 million subscribers in 2014. These losses were the fewest in any year since 2006. By contrast satellite TV providers added 86,000 subscribers in 2015 — including gains from DISH's Internet-delivered Sling TV — compared with a gain of 20,000 in 2014. Discounting Sling TV numbers, DBS providers were found to have lost about 450,000 subscribers in 2015.

The biggest loser was the previous stellar telco TV sector where the leading providers lost 125,000 video subscribers in 2015, a huge fall given that the sector added just over a million subs in the previous year. Indeed LRG calculated that IPTV net adds in 2015 were the fewest in any year since the services started in 2006.

“2015 marked the third consecutive year for pay-TV industry net losses, yet the total number of subscribers for major pay-TV providers (including DISH's Sling TV) has declined by less than one million since the industry peaked in 1Q 2012,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “2015 also saw significant shifts for cable and Telco providers. The top cable providers cumulatively had their best year since 2006, and had about 870,000 fewer losses than in 2014. Telcos had about 1,170,000 fewer net additions than in 2014, and had their worst year since they began providing video services in 2006.”

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