Leading US pay-TV providers lose over 2MN subscribers in Q1 2020 | Media Analysis | Business
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Poor performance by the US pay-TV market has been something of a norm for the last couple of years but a study from Leichtman Research Group has produced the alarming finding that net customer losses for major pay-TV providers in the first quarter of the year totalled 2.065 million net video subscribers.
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LRG’s study of the providers which make up about 95 of the market%, with 83.9 million subscribers, was more than double than the net loss of subscribers in Q1 2019.

The leading seven cable companies were found to have 45.2 million video subscribers; satellite TV services 24.1 million subscribers; the top telephone companies 8.2 million subscribers; and the top publicly reporting virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), 6.4 million subscribers.

During the quarter, satellite TV services lost about 1.03 million subscribers in the quarter, compared with a loss of about 810,000 subscribers in Q1 2019. The top seven cable companies lost about 595,000 video subscribers in Q1 2020, compared with a loss of about 335,000 subscribers in the quarter a year earlier. The top telephone companies lost about 125,000 video subscribers in Q1 2020, compared with a loss of about 105,000 subscribers in Q1 2019.

Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services such as Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV and AT&T TV NOW were once see as the way in which operators could fend off cord-cutting but even these products were filing results in red ink. The top publicly reporting companies of these firms lost about 320,000 subscribers in Q1 2020. This compared with about 225,000 net additions in the first quarter of the previous year.

Commenting on the results, and the trends for the industry, Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group said: “Pay-TV net losses of over 2 million subscribers in Q1 2020 were more than in any previous quarter. The record net losses were partly related to the impact of the coronavirus, but do not solely reflect consumers’ dropping services. Several providers cited a decrease in connects as a key component of net losses in the quarter, rather than an increase in disconnects.”