Now that the third-quarter earnings season is over, it's time to sift through the rubble. 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. 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 Q3 2015 (ranking by subscribers)
|Service Provider||Platform||Subscribers (millions)||Net Adds||ARPU*|
|1||AT&T||IPTV + Satellite||26.159||-40,000||$114.40|
|4||Time Warner Cable||Cable||10.767||-7,000||$76.06|
*Comcast ARPU is Total Blended ARPU, All others are Video ARPU
Source: Strategy Analytics' Digital Television Operator Performance Benchmarking: North America
"Subscriber losses really slowed this quarter, so that is positive news for the operators and reflects our position that cord cutting has been overblown," said Jason Blackwell, director of service provider strategies in Strategy Analytics' Digital Consumer Practice. "Of course, we believe that TV is fundamentally changing, and new services like managed OTT (like Sling TV or the TWC Roku trial) and skinny bundles will have an impact. ARPUs are down slightly from the second quarter, but generally still higher than 3Q14. These new services may start to put some pressure on Video ARPUs, but they are also dramatically lowering subscriber acquisition costs."
To put these numbers into context, the analysts an investment banking firm Evercore ISI offer a look at how the operators break out in terms of market share:
In a separate research report, Leichtman Research Group found that the thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the United States, representing about 95 percent of the market, lost about 190,000 net video subscribers in the third quarter of this year. The firm said the the top pay-TV providers account for 94.0 million subscribers, and that the top nine cable companies account for 48.8 million video subscribers.
End of 3Q 2015
Net Adds in
|Time Warner Cable||10,977,000||(5,000)|
|Other major private companies*||6,360,000||(35,000)|
|Total Top Cable||48,809,907||(144,693)|
|Satellite TV Companies (DBS)|
|Total Top Phone||11,687,000||(49,000)|
|Total Top Pay-TV Providers||93,975,907||(190,693)|
Next, Jackdaw Research analyst Jan Dawson provides an additional look at the performance of the nation's top pay TV operators in the second quarter with these key slides:
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||Q3 2014||Q4 2014||Q1 2015||Q2 2015||Q3 2015|
|Time Warner Cable||10,827||10,789||10,819||10,774||10,767|
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 third quarter of 2015:
Finally, the analysts at Evercore look at the overall penetration of pay TV from 2013 to the third quarter of this year, according to data from the companies, Evercore itself, SNL Kagan and the U.S. Census Bureau's Housing Vacancy Survey.