Pay-TV Lost 1.5 Million Subs in Q2

As expected, pay-TV took another beating when it comes to retaining video subscribers.

New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. — representing about 93% of the market — lost about 1.53 million video subscribers in the second quarter, ended June 30.

The loss was up 264% compared with a net loss of about 420,000 video subs in the previous-year period.

The top pay-TV operators now have about 86.6 million subs — with the top seven cable companies having 46.5 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 27.5 million subs, the top telephone companies 8.8 million subs, and the top publicly reporting online TV services 3.8 million subs.

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Satellite TV services lost about 855,000 subs compared to a loss of about 480,000 subs in 2018. AT&T-owned DirecTV had record losses for the fifth consecutive quarter, while Dish TV had fewer losses than in any quarter since Q4 in 2014.

The top seven cable companies lost about 455,000 video subs compared to a loss of about 275,000 subs in 2018. Cable losses were more than in any quarter since Q2 2014.

The top telephone providers lost about 100,000 video subs compared to a loss of about 45,000 subs in 2018.

Online TV services, Sling TV and DirecTV Now, lost 120,000 subs compared to about 385,000 net adds in 2018.

Over the past year, top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 5 million subs — compared to a loss of about 1.o6 million subs over the prior year.

Over the past year, DBS services lost about 3.175 subs — compared with a loss of about 1.59 subs over the prior year.

Over the past year, online TV services lost about 340,000 subs — compared to a gain of 1.84 subs over the prior year.

“This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses,” principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “With an increased focus on acquiring and retaining profitable subscribers, DBS services accounted for more than half of the net pay-TV losses in 2Q 2019, and 63% of the losses over the past year.”

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