US pay-TV service providers lose 1.62 million subs in 2017 | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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They may have shown small gains in total television customer acquisition in the fourth quarter, but for the leading US pay-TV providers the whole of 2017 was not a year of note according to the latest informitv Multiscreen Index.

directv now 27 July 2017The round-up of the state of the top ten pay-TV service providers in the country found that overall the leading firms had 85.23 million television customers between them, accounting for over 70% of US TV homes. They gained 84,600 subscribers in the last quarter of 2017, but only three of them actually added customers. These were driven by growth in online television services, while traditional platforms continued a trend of slow quarterly losses. Overall, the top ten were down lost 1.62 million subscribers.

The DIRECTV NOW online service added over a third of a million customers in the quarter, and 855,000 over the year, for a total of over a million, while DISH Network broke out figures for its Sling TV offering for the first time, accounting for well over two million, up by 711,000 in a year to around a sixth of its subscriber base. Dish Network gained 39,000. This includes 75,000 reactivations following Hurricane Maria, having previously discounted 145,000 from its subscriber base. The total of 13.24 million subscribers includes 2.21 million Sling TV subscribers.

However, the research also showed that DIRECTV lost 147,000 traditional television subscribers, while AT&T U-verse lost a further 60,000, even though, and showing a clear corporate strategy, DIRECTV NOW gained 362,000, giving AT&T a total of 25.17 million in the US. That represents a total quarterly gain of 155,000, although it is down 321,000 year-on-year.

Comcast lost 38,000 television subscribers, the third consecutive quarterly loss, compared to a gain of 68,000 for the same period the previous year, ending 2017 with a total of 21.30 million. Charter Spectrum added 2,000 television customers, its first net addition for six quarters, although it ended the year down by 292,000. Verizon FiOS lost 29,000 subscribers, the fourth consecutive quarterly television subscriber loss, ending 2017 with 4.62 million, down 75,000 on the previous year. Altice USA shed 18,800 Optimum television customers and 5,600 Suddenlink subscribers, with a combined loss of over 129,000 over the year.

“Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW are adding significant numbers of online subscribers but overall the traditional platforms are slowly leaking television customers,” said William Cooper, editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index, commenting on the research. “These two online services currently only represent 4% of the television subscribers to the top ten services in the United States.”