Pay-TV Q2 subscriber losses will hit 1.28M, analyst says

Cord cutting

Adding a specific figure to a general consensus among media investment analysts that second-quarter customer losses were staggering, Wells Fargo analyst Marci Ryvicker predicts linear pay-TV services lost 1.28 million subscribers during the period. 

“It’s not a great environment, but it feels like expectations are low enough,” Ryvicker wrote in a note to clients.

RELATED: Customer losses due to cord cutting to surpass 1M in Q2, analyst predicts


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Operators lost more than 750,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2016—Q2 usually yields the highest attrition numbers of the year. With the first quarter of 2017 also yielding losses of more than 750,000, analysts are predicting that publicly traded pay-TV operators are about to report figures that are much worse. 

“We believe that the second quarter is the first quarter in which pay TV net losses exceeded the one million mark,” Evercore analyst Vijay Jayant told investors. “While Q2 is seasonally the weakest quarter of the year, we expect results to show continued pressure on the segment due to cord-cutting and the growth in cord-nevers.”

Adding to the specifics, Jayant thinks Charter lost 145,000 customers during the quarter ended June 30. He suspects Comcast lost about 50,000.

He’s expecting AT&T will have lost about 300,000 across its U-verse and DirecTV platforms, and pegs Dish Network’s Q2 losses to come in at a staggering 370,000 before additions for virtual platform Sling TV are factored in. 

Jayant also thinks that virtual pay-TV services like Sling TV, DirecTV Now and Hulu Live collectively added 250,000 users in the second quarter. 

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