Major US pay-TV providers lose 5MN subscribers in 2019 | Pay-TV | News | Rapid TV News
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It is generally accepted that the US pay-TV industry had a calamitous 2019 but the scale of the losses endured has been revealed by the Leichtman Research Group which calculates that the largest providers in the country shed 4.915 million customers.
slingTV 13Aug2019
Such providers representing about 95% of the US industry, accounting for 86.2 million subscribers, and the haemorrhaging in 2019 was around three million more net losses than in any previous year and compares with a pro forma loss of about 1.585 million subscribers in 2018.

LRG’s study found that the top seven cable companies having 45.8 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 25.4 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 8.3 million subscribers, and the top three publicly reporting online-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services 6.7 million subscribers.

The survey showed that 2019 was utter carnage for the satellite TV industry which racked up around 3.7 million subscriber losses in 2019, around 1.34 million more than in 2018. DIRECTV lost about 3.190 million subscribers in 2019, nearly three times that in the previous year. In 2019, DBS services cumulatively lost 12.7% of video subscribers, compared with a loss of 7.5% in 2018.

The top seven cable companies lost about 1.56 million video subscribers in 2019, compared with a net loss of about 920,000 subscribers in 2018. LRG found that in 2019 the top cable providers cumulatively lost 3.3% of video subscribers, a figure that was 1.9% a year earlier.

In absolute terms the picture was a bit brighter for telco TV firms which lost about 665,000 video subscribers in 2019. Relatively performance was poor: there were only 245,000 net losses in 2018 and the top telcos cumulatively lost 7.4% of video subscribers in 2019 compared with 2.6% in 2018.

Leading vMVPD services Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV and AT&T TV NOW actually added about 1.01 million subscribers in 2019. While any increase has to be commended, their pace of growth stalled in 2019. 2018 net adds amounted to about 1.94 million and subscribers increased by 18% in 2019 compared with an increase of about 50% in 2018.

Of the key players with multiple pay-TV offers, AT&T had a net loss of about 4.12 million subscribers across the DIRECTV, AT&T U-verse and AT&T TV NOW services in 2019 compared with a net loss of about 750,000 in 2018. AT&T effectively dragged down the pay-TV industry, accounting for 84% of pay-TV net losses in 2019. This was only 48% of net losses in 2018.

“Overall, the top pay-TV providers lost 5.4% of subscribers in 2019 compared to a loss of 1.7% in 2018,” remarked Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group commenting on the research. “The significant increase in pay-TV net losses in 2019 was both a function of consumers having more video options, and the decisions by AT&T and other providers to increasingly focus on long-term profitability in acquiring and retaining subscribers.”

After a what has been described as a successful 13-market pilot, AT&T has now just launched the AT&T TV online service across the US representing its major pivot away from satellite.