Top 7 cable, satellite and telco pay-TV operators in Q3: Ranking Comcast to DirecTV to Charter to Dish


Now that the third-quarter earnings season is in the rearview, it's time to assess the damage. FierceCable has assembled a complete look at the third-quarter earnings season, ranking the top cable, satellite and telco pay-TV operators and offering a look at their performance in a number of key metrics, including subscriber growth and average revenues per user (ARPU).

To see our full reporting on the third quarter, click here.

First, let's look at the top pay-TV operators, ranked by number of subscribers. This list, from Strategy Analytics, ranks the nation's operators and provides their quarterly net adds/losses and ARPU:

Top US Pay TV Service Provider Metrics Q3 2016 (ranking by subscribers)
Rank   Platform Subscribers (millions) Net Adds ARPU*
1 AT&T IPTV + Satellite 25.292 -3,000 $118.09
2 Comcast Cable 22.428 32,000 $148.47
3 Charter Cable 16.887 -47,000 $80.81
4 Dish Network Satellite 13.643 50,000 $89.44
5 Verizon IPTV 4.673 36,000 n/a
6 Cox Cable 4.146 3,000 n/a
7 Altice Cable 3.598 -41,000 $117.80
 *Comcast and Altice ARPU is Total Blended ARPU, All others are Video ARPU  
Source: Strategy Analytics' Digital Television Operator Performance Benchmarking: North America   

Next, UBS analysts provided a chart on the overall video industry in the United States, showing the gains and losses in the space over the past few years. The firm said it estimates the U.S. multichannel pay TV subscribers base, including Sling TV, declined by 0.6 percent year over year in the third quarter, similar to the drop in both the first quarter and the second quarter.


Next, the analysts at MoffettNathanson checked in with a look at the overall subscriber declines in the pay-TV space over the past ten years. The firm’s figures also offer a look at how Dish Network’s Sling TV service has affected the trend.

MoffettNathanson also offered a look at how the cable, telco and satellite pay-TV businesses are competing with each other. The firm’s numbers show Comcast, Charter and other cable companies are gaining ground on telco providers like AT&T and Verizon as well as satellite providers like Dish Network.

Finally, UBS offered a look at the cable industry’s internet broadband business, which continues to gain steam. Specifically, the firm’s chart showed the impressive performance of cable companies like Charter and Comcast against telco companies like AT&T and Verizon in the broadband internet space.