Pay-TV operators lost around 150,000 subscribers in the third quarter, making the three-month period ending Sept. 30 the worst Q3 ever for the industry in terms of video customer attrition.
The data comes courtesy of Leichtman Research Group, which surveyed the earnings reports of the top 13 publicly traded pay-TV operators in the U.S., who collectively serve 95.3 percent of the market. The figures compare to losses of just 25,000 in the third quarter of 2013.
An earlier report issued by media stock analyst Craig Moffett pegged the industry's Q3 losses at 179,000. For his part, Moffett downplayed the significance of pay-TV's latest dip into negative terrain.
But Leichtman notes that over the last 12 months, the major pay-TV operators have lost 105,000 video subscribers, compared to just 45,000 over the previous year.
Cable losses decelerated in Q3, with the top nine MSOs losing 440,000 video subs compared to 600,000 in the prior year quarter. However, satellite operators lost 40,000 subs after gaining 174,000 in Q3 2013; and telco companies added only 330,000 vs. 400,000 in the year-ago period.
Leichtman, however, also stopped short of rendering any cord-cutting declarations.
"The pay-TV industry is characterized by seasonality. While the first and second quarters of 2014 showed slight industrywide improvements over 2013, the third quarter was down from a year ago," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. "If recent history is an indicator, the pay-TV industry will follow the fourth quarter trend, and close 2014 with a modest subscriber gain in the quarter."
- read this LRG report
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