U.S. pay TV providers lost over 1.5M subscribers in Q2, Leichtman says

cord cutting
Every single pay TV provider included in Leichtman’s report lost subscribers during the second quarter except for Sling TV and AT&T U-verse. (Alyssa & Colin/Flickr)

Major U.S. pay TV providers lost a combined 1.53 million subscribers during the second quarter, more than any previous quarter, according to the Leichtman Research Group.

The total is up from a pro forma net loss of about 420,000 subscribers during the same quarter one year ago.

“This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, in a statement. “With an increased focus on acquiring and retaining profitable subscribers, DBS services accounted for more than half of the net pay-TV losses in 2Q 2019, and 63% of the losses over the past year.”

Indeed, satellite TV services lost about 855,000 subscribers in the second quarter, compared to a net loss of about 480,000 subscribers during the year-ago quarter. But DirecTV took the brunt of it this quarter. AT&T’s satellite operator reported record net losses for the fifth consecutive quarter, while Dish TV had fewer net losses than in any quarter since the fourth quarter of 2014.

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The top seven cable companies lost about 455,000 video subscribers in the second quarter – up from 275,000 subscribers one year ago – which were more net losses than any quarter since the second quarter of 2014. The top telephone providers lost about 100,000 video subscribers and the two publicly reported virtual MVPD services, Sling TV and AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) lost 120,000 subscribers.

Every single pay TV provider included in Leichtman’s report lost subscribers during the second quarter except for Sling TV, which added 48,000, and AT&T U-verse, which remained flat. Over the past year, the top pay TV providers reported a net loss of about 5 million subscribers – compared to a loss of about just more than 1 million subscribers over the prior year.

According to the report, the top U.S. pay TV providers now account for about 86.6 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 46.5 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 27.5 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 8.8 million subscribers and the top publicly reporting vMVPDs 3.8 million subscribers.