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US subscribers to OTT pay TV services climbs 119%

The number of US subscribers to over-the-top delivered pay TV services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now and YouTube TV grew by 119% year-on-year to 6.73 million in Q2, according to Strategy Analytics.

The research firm’s second quarter US pay TV update said that while the entire virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) market is growing, AT&T’s DirecTV Now deserves “special notice” due to its rapid growth in a short period of time.

“If it continues on its current growth trajectory it will overtake Sling TV as the largest vMVPD in early 2019,” said Michael Goodman, Strategy Analytics’ director of television and media strategies.

According to the report, Sling TV had 2.34 million subscribers in the second quarter, up 25.9% year-on-year, while DirecTV Now came second in the vMVPD space with 1.81 million subscribers, up 268.4% compared to the same time last year.

Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV also experienced strong year-on-year growth at 478.8% and 368.6% respectively, taking Hulu Live’s subscriber number to 955,000 and YouTube TV’s to 410,000. Meanwhile, Playstation Vue experienced a 59.4% increase to reach 745,000 subscribers.

Despite the gains made by these providers, the overall US pay TV market – including cable, satellite, IPTV and vMVPD – fell to 93.78 million subscribers across 27 providers, which accounted 97% of the market.

“Q2 2018 was not particularly kind to legacy pay TV providers (e.g., cable, satellite, IPTV) as they lost nearly as many subscribers (-973,000) as the prior two quarters combined (-1.16 million). In Q2 2018, total legacy pay TV subscriptions fell to 87.05 million, down 3.6% year-on-year,” according to the research.