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Leichtman: Pay-TV Operators Lost 785K Subs, Added 825K Broadband Customers in Q3

High speed internet service is a gift that keeps on giving to pay-TV operators while video subscribers continue to decline.

New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest pay-TV providers in the United States — representing about 92% of the market — lost about 785,000 net video subscribers in the third quarter (ended Sept. 30), compared to a net loss of 650,000 subs in the prior-year period.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 71.4 million subscribers — with the top seven cable companies having about 38.6 million video subscribers, other services (telecom and satellite) having about 24.8 million subs, and online services (i.e., Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, etc.) having more than 8 million subs.

“Spurred by a strong quarter from [online TV] services, pay-TV net losses in 3Q were more modest than in the first two quarters of the year,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Not including YouTube TV, which does not regularly report subscriber totals, [online TV] had nearly 900,000 net additions in the quarter. This was the third most quarterly net adds ever for the top publicly reporting online services.”

The pay-TV subscriber losses continue to be mitigated by ongoing high-speed internet subscriber gains.

Leichtman found that the largest cable and telecom providers and fixed wireless services in the United States — representing about 96% of the market — added 825,000 net broadband subscribers in 3Q, similar to a gain of about 820,000 subs last year.

These top broadband providers account for about 110.8 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 75.6 million broadband subs, wireline phone companies having more than 32 million subs, and top fixed wireless services having about 3.2 million subs.

“Over the past year, fixed wireless services have accounted for nearly 80% of the approximately 3.26 million broadband subscriber additions,” Leichtman reported.

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