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US pay TV ARPU up, despite subscriber declines

Jason Blackwell

Jason Blackwell

Among the leading US pay TV operators, the average revenue per user (ARPU) has “almost consistently been on an upward trajectory,” despite significant subscriber losses, said Strategy Analytics.

The research firm said that in the second quarter the top North American pay TV operators saw user numbers decline “at the highest rate we have seen so far.”

The top 20 tracked operators in the US, which account for more than 95% of the total market, saw subscriber losses of 479,000 while the operators in Canada lost 53,000 customers.

However, while Dish Network lost 81,000 subscribers, its video ARPU increased by 2.5% quarter-over-quarter and 4.5% year-over-year.

“Similar increases were reported by DirecTV, Charter, and Time Warner Cable,” according to Strategy Analytics’ ‘Digital Television Operator Performance Benchmarking: North America’ report.

“The subscriber losses in the second quarter were across all of the pay TV platforms, including cable, satellite, and IPTV.  However, going forward, we believe there are clear opportunities for the pay TV providers as they begin to roll out over-the-top (OTT) video services similar to Dish Network’s Sling TV offering,” said Jason Blackwell, director of the Service Provider Strategies service  at Strategy Analytics.

“Verizon will debut its OTT service this year, along with Comcast and CenturyLink.  Although nothing has been announced, AT&T (with its DirecTV acquisition) is predicted to roll out an OTT video service, and the company is uniquely positioned to tie that into a variety of nationwide bundles that could also include fixed or mobile broadband, satellite TV, and wireless phone service.”