AT&T has horror Q3 as US pay-TV continues to bleed subs | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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In more bad news for the traditional TV industry, a study from the Leichtman Research Group (LRG) has found that the largest pay-TV providers in the US lost about 1.75 million net video subscribers in the third quarter of 2019.
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This compared with a pro forma net loss of about 975,000 in the same quarter a year ago and marked the fifth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses and what makes the losses more chilling to the pay-TV industry is that the figures were calculated before the arrival of the Apple TV+ and Disney+ direct-to-consumer services in November 2019.

LRG calculates that the leading pay-TV providers now account for about 84.8 million subscribers with the top seven cable companies having 46.1 million video subscribers; satellite TV services 26.3 million subscribers; telcos 8.6 million subscribers; and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services 3.8 million subscribers.

However, during the quarter satellite TV services lost about 1.140 million subscribers, compared to a net loss of about 725,000 subscribers in Q3 2018. DIRECTV recorded record net losses for the sixth consecutive quarter, though DISH TV had fewer net losses than in any quarter since Q3 2014.

The leading seven cable companies lost about 410,000 video subscribers in Q3 2019 – compared with a loss of about 245,000 subscribers in Q3 2018 and the top telephone providers lost about 210,000 video subscribers in Q3 2019, nearly three times that lost in the quarter a year again.

Nascent skinny vMVPD services Sling TV and AT&T NOW didn’t put on more fat that previously, adding around 20,000 subscribers in Q3 2019. This compared with about 75,000 net adds in Q3 2018.

Looking at individual firms’ performance, US comms giant AT&T accounted for 79% of the net losses in the quarter compared with 30% of net losses in Q3 2018. It reported a net loss of about 1.370 million subscribers across its three pay-TV services — DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse, and AT&T NOW — in Q3 2019 – compared with a net loss of about 295,000 subscribers in Q3 2018.

“This change is largely the result of AT&T’s strategic decision to increasingly focus on retaining and acquiring more profitable subscribers,” commented Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.