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US pay TV subscriber losses narrow year-on-year

The major US pay TV providers – representing about 95% of the market – lost about 305,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2018 compared to 515,000 in Q1 2017.

This is according to Leichtman Research Group, which claimed that even though overall subscriber losses narrowed year-on-year, the top cable and satellite providers fared worse in 2018.

According to the report findings, the top six cable companies in the US lost about 285,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a loss of about 115,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017.

Satellite TV services lost a reported 375,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018, compared to a loss of about 340,000 subscribers in 1Q 2017.

However, net losses for the top US telcos were the fewest in any quarter since 3Q 2015, with the top phone providers losing around 50,000 video subscribers in Q1 2018 compared to 325,000 subscribers a year earlier.

Internet-delivered TV services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now also continued to grow, adding about 405,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018 compared to about 265,000 net additions in 1Q 2017.

“The number of pay TV subscribers for the top providers peaked six years ago. Since 1Q 2012, top providers have lost about 3.4 million total pay TV subscribers,” said president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Bruce Leichtman.

“Since the industry’s peak, traditional services have lost about 7.2 million subscribers, while the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered services gained about 3.8 million subscribers.”

Overall the research firm said that traditional pay TV services – not including internet-delivered services – lost about 710,000 subscribers in 1Q 2018 compared to a loss of about 780,000 in 1Q 2017.