Falling satellite sector drives unprecedented losses for US pay-TV in Q3 2018 | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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Haemorrhaging customer numbers in the satellite TV industry have driven almost a million subscriber losses for major US pay-TV providers during the third quarter of the year says a study from the Leichtman Research Group.
LRG 13Nov2018
In its survey LRG found that that the largest pay-TV providers in the US, representing about 95% of the market, lost about 975,000 net video subscribers in Q3 2018, compared with a pro forma loss of about 410,000 subscribers in 3Q 2017. Satellite TV services lost about 725,000 of this number, rocketing 54% on an annual basis. DBS net losses of 726,000 were more than in any previous quarter. The recorded 359,000 net losses for DIRECTV were more than in any previous quarter while DISH TV did even worse with 367,000 net losses.

By comparison, the top six cable companies in the US lost about 245,000 video subscribers in Q3 2018, actually 45,000 fewer compared with the same period a year ago. The leading US telcos lost about 80,000 IPTV subscribers in 3Q 2018, a 100,0000 improvement in losses.

It was subdued news in what looks like a plateauing Internet-delivered sector where vMVPD services, Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW, added 75,000 subscribers in the third quarter. This compared to 530,000 net adds in Q3 2017. Indeed this quarter’s additions were fewer than in any quarter since their debut.

In all, the leading pay-TV providers now account for about 90.3 million subscribers – with the top six cable companies having 47.1 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 29.9 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 9.1 million subscribers, and the top vMVPD pay-TV services 4.2 million subscribers. Traditional pay-TV services (not including vMVPD) lost about 1,050,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018 – compared to a loss of about 940,000 in 3Q 2017.

“Overall, the top pay-TV providers lost about 975,000 subscribers in 3Q 2018. This marked the most net losses ever in a quarter for the pay-TV industry,” said LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman.

“Satellite TV services had more combined net losses in 3Q 2018 than in any previous quarter. These net losses were largely driven by corporate strategies focused on acquiring and retaining more profitable subscribers (as well as a programming carriage issue between DISH and Univision). A related emphasis on improving the profitability of the satellite TV company’s Internet-delivered flanker brands reduced net quarterly adds in the segment, resulting in vMVPDs not helping to mitigate overall pay-TV losses to the degree they had in recent quarters.”