Pay-TV Lost 1.5M Subscribers in Q2 2019, Says Leichtman

DURHAM, N.H.—Pay-TV keeps taking hits in subscribers, with Leichtman Research Group finding in its latest quarterly report that about 1.53 million people dropped their pay-TV subscriptions during the second quarter of 2019. This is the fourth consecutive quarter of decline, per Leichtman, and more than a million of subscribers cutting their service from the same time period in 2018 (420,000).

Consisting of the top 14 pay-TV services in the U.S. making up about 93% of the market, which includes satellite, cable, phone and vMVPDs. Satellite companies lost about 855,000 subscribers during Q2, with DirecTV accounting for 778,000 alone in its fifth straight quarter of net losses; Dish’s losses of 79,000 resulted in its best quarter since Q2 2014.

Cable, meanwhile, had its worst quarter since Q2 2014, experiencing a net loss among the top seven companies of 455,000. Comcast took the biggest hit, but is still the top cable provider by a wide margin.

The top telephone providers lost about 100,000 video subscribers—more than double its Q2 2018 numbers—and vMVPD services even suffered a loss of 120,000 subscribers; they experienced a net add of 385,000 in Q2 2018.

In the past year, the top pay-TV providers have lost about 5,015,000 subscribers; the year prior saw a loss of 1,060,000 subscribers.

“This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG. “With an increased focus on acquiring and retaining profitable subscribers, DBS services accounted for more than half of the net pay-TV losses in 2Q 2019, and 63% of the losses over the past year.”

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