Pay TV has lost record 1.3M subs so far this year, SNL Kagan says

Cord cutting

Cable, satellite and telecommunications-based subscription video services lost 430,000 customers in the third quarter, according to SNL Kagan, giving the industry a record year-to-date loss of 1.3 million subscribers. 

The research firm publishes quarterly the most extensive tally of pay-TV subscriber growth/retraction, covering the industry down to the granular level of small cable operators. Its count for the third quarter is slightly lower than the 486,000 estimate published by MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett last week. 

RELATED: Tallying the top 10 pay-TV operators' subscriber losses in Q3 2016


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SNL Kagan said that cable operators lost 94,000 pay-TV customers in the third quarter, the sector’s best performance in 10 years. Cable lost only half the number of video subs it hemorrhaged in the third quarter of 2015.

AT&T’s decision to prioritize growth of DirecTV, meanwhile, generated 323,000 new subs for the platform in the third quarter, offsetting huge losses for Dish Network in satellite. That sector ended the quarter in positive territory, growing by 46,000 users.

RELATED: Q2 official cord cutting tally: a record 812K cable, satellite and telco subs lost, SNL Kagan says

The decision by AT&T, however, to deprioritize U-verse resulted in the telco sector losing 382,000 video customers in the third quarter. Year to date, telco video suppliers have lost 1.2 million customers. 

SNL Kagan estimates that Dish Network’s Sling TV added 925,000 customers in the 12-month period ending Sept. 30. Factoring in those users, the research company estimates that MVPD customer ranks have declined by 822,000.


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