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Dish, DirecTV Among Hardest Hit in Q1 Pay-TV Decline

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LONDON—Despite reports that traditional TV viewership has increased during the coronavirus pandemic, the pay-TV market is still declining throughout most of the world, according to a new study by Ampere Analysis. In the U.S, among the top pay-TV providers, Dish and DirecTV are the hardest hit.

Calculating data from the first quarter of 2020, Ampere’s study found that DirecTV had a 5% loss of subscribers and Dish saw a 4% decline. Other major U.S. providers like Verizon and Comcast also took a hit (just about a 2% decline for each), but Ampere says they have been less impacted by cord-cutting than the satellite-based Dish and DirecTV.

“Of the bellwether pay-TV operators we’re tracking, U.S. groups represent more than half of those firms suffering net subscriber declines,” said Toby Holleran, senior analyst for Ampere. “But losses aren’t evenly distributed even here—IPTV and cable firms have shown more resilience as a consequence of their ability to better bundle communications and pay-TV together, insulating themselves against the worst effects of cord-cutting.”

The decline in pay-TV subscribers is consistent throughout most of the world, save for China. If China is included in Q1 data, TV subscriber totals were 0.3% higher in Q1 2020 than in Q4 2019. Remove China, however, and there was a net decline of 0.7%, more than the 0.5% decline in Q4 2019.

In actual number of subscribers, Ampere says that outside of China there was a loss of 1.7 million subscribers; with China, the net growth was just under 2 million.

The Ampere Analysis study recorded data from 70 companies that account for roughly half of the world’s 1 billion pay-TV subscribers.

For more information, visit www.ampereanalysis.com.