Cord cutting in Q3: 10 largest public pay TV platforms lost 396K subscribers with vMVPDs factored in

Cord cutting
Virtual MVPD services are taking a bite out of traditional cable operators' subscriber base. (FDominec / Wikipedia)

The top 10 pay TV platforms belonging to publicly traded telecom operators lost 395,700 video customers in the U.S. in the third quarter, a metric vastly improved by the subscriber additions of low-margin virtual MVPD services DirecTV Now and Sling TV. 

Dish Network reported a gain in the U.S. of 16,000 subscribers, once again refusing to publicly parse gains made by Sling TV with continued degradation of its core satellite business. The Englewood, Colorado, company's satellite TV operation has been shrinking at a clip of 8.4% annually. (Dish also lost 145,000 customers in Puerto Rico, a loss it attributes to Hurricane Maria. We didn't tabulate it in this tally.)

Last month, AT&T reported that DirecTV Now gained 296,000 users in the third quarter, offsetting losses of 251,000 customers for the DirecTV satellite platform and losses of 134,000 subscribers for the IPTV-based U-verse service. 

RELATED: Cord cutting hits 632K for Q3 with bulk of top platforms reporting

Earlier this week, mid-sized operator Cable One reported a loss of 10,700 pay TV users in the three-month period ending Sept. 30. Mediacom said last week that it lost 6,000 users during the third quarter, while No. 4 U.S. operator Altice USA said it lost 33,000. Frontier Communications reported Q3 pay TV losses of 26,000 users.

Also last month, Verizon said it lost 18,000 Fios TV users in the third quarter, while Comcast and Charter posted TV customer losses of 125,000 and 104,000, respectively. 

Last year, the same 10 platforms reported customer losses of just over 230,000, also with the gains of Sling TV factored in.