LRG Says US Pay TV down 255K in Q3 2016

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) said that the eleven largest pay-TV providers in the US — representing about 95% of the market — lost about 255,000 net video subscribers in 3Q 2016, compared to a loss of about 210,000 subscribers in 3Q 2015.

The top pay-TV providers account for 93.65 million subscribers — with the top six cable companies having 48.8 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies having 34.4 million subscribers (including over 900,000 from DISH’s Internet-delivered Sling TV), and the top telephone companies having 10.5 million subscribers.

Other key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top six cable companies lost about 90,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2016 — compared to a loss of about 170,000 subscribers in 3Q 2015
  • Top cable MSOs losses were the fewest in any third quarter since 2006
  • Satellite TV providers added 207,000 subscribers in 3Q 2016 (including gains from Sling TV) — compared to a gain of 3,000 in 3Q 2015
  • DirecTV’s net adds of 323,000 in 3Q 2016 were the most in any third quarter since 2011
  • The top phone providers lost about 375,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2016 — compared to a loss of about 45,000 subscribers in 3Q 2015
  • Over the past year, AT&T lost about 1,335,000 U-verse subscribers, while adding 1,207,000 DirecTV subscribers

“The top pay-TV providers lost about 255,000 subscribers in this year’s third quarter, a cumulative total that was about 45,000 more than in last year’s third quarter,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “Over the past year, the top pay-TV providers (including DISH’s Sling TV) lost about 755,000 subscribers — compared to a loss of about 445,000 over the prior year.”

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at
End of 3Q 2016
Net Adds in
3Q 2016
Cable Companies
Comcast 22,428,000 32,000
Charter 17,275,000 -37,000
Altice 3,598,000 -41,000
Mediacom 834,000 -8,000
Cable ONE 329,386 -9,588
Other major private company* 4,305,000 -25,000
Total Top Cable 48,769,386 -88,588
Satellite TV Companies (DBS)
DirecTV 20,777,000 323,000
DISH** 13,643,000 -116,000
Total DBS 34,420,000 207,000
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 4,673,000 36,000
AT&T U-verse 4,544,000 -325,000
Frontier^ 1,245,000 -85,000
Total Top Phone 10,462,000 -374,000
Total Top Pay-TV Providers 93,651,386 -255,588
* Includes LRG estimate for Cox
** DISH totals and net adds include Sling TV; in 3Q 2016 DISH changed its calculation for counting commercial accounts
^ LRG estimate (not including DBS subs); in 3Q 2016 Frontier revised the number of subs acquired from Verizon in April