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US pay TV providers lose 470,000 subs in Q2

Bruce Leichtman

Bruce Leichtman

The 13 largest pay TV providers in the US, representing roughly 95% of the market, lost around 470,000 net video subscribers in the second quarter, according to new research.

The Leichtman Research Group study found that the subscriber drop-off widened from a loss of around 305,000 video subscribers in Q2 2014, with satellite TV providers the hardest hit.

The report said that satellite providers DirecTV and DISH lost a combined 214,000 subscribers in Q2 2015, compared to a loss of 78,000 in Q2 2014.

DirecTV’s 133,000 net losses in the quarter were more than in any previous quarter, while DISH lost 81,000 subscribers – despite making gains with its internet-delivered Sling TV service.

All of the top US cable companies also shed subscribers in Q2, with the three largest, Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Charter losing 69,000, 43,000 and 30,000 respectively.

In total, the top nine cable companies lost about 260,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2015. However, this compared to a bigger loss of about 510,000 subscribers in 2Q 2014, according to the report.

“[Overall] the top pay TV providers lost about 470,000 subscribers in the traditionally weak second quarter, with net losses in 2Q 2015 exceeding the previous low-water mark of about 360,000 losses in 2Q 2013,” said Leichtman Research Group president and principal analyst, Bruce Leichtman.

“Cumulatively, telcos and DBS providers both had their weakest quarter ever for net video additions, leaving the door open for cable providers to have their fewest cumulative losses in a second quarter in seven years.”

Seprately, Leichtman Research Group found that the 17 largest cable and telephone providers in the US, representing about 94% of the market, acquired about 360,000 net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in the second quarter of 2015.

Earlier this month, an SNL Kagan report said that US multi-channel service providers lost more than 600,000 video subscribers in the three months ended June 30.