Top 9 cable, satellite and telco pay-TV operators in Q1: Ranking Comcast to TWC to Charter to Cablevision

quarterly earnings

Now that the first-quarter 2016 earnings season is done, it's time to reflect on what is likely the last quarter before Charter acquires Time Warner Cable and Altice NV acquires Cablevision. FierceCable has assembled a complete look at the first-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 first quarter, click here. And to see how this report changed from the previous 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 Q1 2016 (ranking by subscribers)
  Service Provider Platform Subscribers (millions) Net Adds ARPU*
1 AT&T IPTV + Satellite 26.079 -54,000 $116.12
2 Comcast Cable 22.400 53,000 $146.15
3 Dish Network Satellite 13.874 -23,000 $87.94
4 Time Warner Cable Cable 10.842 21,000 $77.25
5 Verizon IPTV 5.863 36,000 n/a
6 Charter Cable 4.332 10,000 $90.03
7 Cox Cable 4.165 12,000 n/a

Jason Blackwell, director of service provider strategies in Strategy Analytics' Digital Consumer Practice, said the top pay-TV providers added a combined 55,000 TV subscribers, well below the 116,000 TV subscribers they added together during the fourth quarter.

To put these numbers into context, the analysts at investment banking firm Evercore ISI offer a look at how the operators break out in terms of market share:

evercore paytv q1 2016

Next, Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson provides an additional look at the performance of the nation's top pay TV operators in the first quarter with these key slides:


jackdaw paytv q1 2016
jackdaw paytv 2016 yoy

Dawson also ranks the top 9 pay-TV operators in the United States and shows how their subscriber bases have changed during the past year:

Top 9 Q1 2015 Q2 2015 Q3 2015 Q4 2015 Q1 2016
AT&T-DirecTV 25,646 25,490 25,424 25,398 25,344
Comcast 22,375 22,306 22,258 22,347 22,400
DirecTV 19,677 19,544 19,570 19,784 20,112
DISH 14,013 13,932 13,909 13,897 13,874
Time Warner Cable 10,819 10,774 10,767 10,821 10,842
AT&T 5,969 5,946 5,854 5,614 5,232
Verizon 5,739 5,765 5,807 5,827 5,863
Charter 4,153 4,120 4,293 4,322 4,332
Cablevision 2,653 2,637 2,604 2,594 2,579

Next MoffettNathanson analyst Craig Moffett checks in with a different look at the overall pay TV industry, with a chart showing the subscriber growth of the pay TV market from 2006 to the first quarter of 2016:

moffett paytv q1 2016

Finally, the analysts at Evercore look at the overall penetration of pay TV from 2013 to the first quarter of this year, according to data from the companies, Evercore itself, SNL Kagan and the U.S. Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey.

evercore paytv penetration q1 2016
7. Cablevision trims Q4 video sub losses to 10K, has best 'organic' growth year since 2008
6. Comcast adds 53K Xfinity TV customers, 438K HSI subs in Q1
5. Dish loses 23K pay-TV subs in Q1, still not breaking out Sling TV numbers
4. TWC adds 21K video subs in Q1, still misses forecast for customer growth in last earnings report ever
3. Verizon FiOS adds 36K pay-TV subs in Q1, says Custom TV is now 38% of video sales
2. Charter set to close on new company called 'Charter,' full transition will run through 2018
1. Cablevision grows revenue, slows pay-TV sub losses as Altice takeover looms


Top 9 cable, satellite and telco pay-TV operators in Q1: Ranking Comcast to TWC to Charter to Cablevision