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US pay TV ‘struggling’ to retain subs

Nine out of the top ten US pay TV operators lost subscribers in the quarter to June 30, new research reveals.

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Cumulatively, more than 400,600 digital television subscribers were lost in the second quarter of 2015, the informitv Multiscreen Index research showed.

DirecTV, now part of AT&T, lost the most customers, 133,000, followed by Dish Network with 81,000, Comcast with 69,000 and Time Warner Cable with 45,000.

AT&T U-verse, Charter, Cablevision, Mediacom and Suddenlink also lost subs, while Verizon FiOS was the only service to add numbers, bringing in 26,000 over the quarter.

At the end of Q2, Comcast remained the largest pay TV operator, with 22.31 million subs, which was down 151,000 over 12 months. DirectTV was second with 20.28 million subs, followed by Dish Network on 13.93 million. The latter had 169,000 subs for its over-top-top service, Sling TV, at the end of March, informitv noted.

Time Warner Cable, which was set to become part of Comcast until watchdogs scrapped the deal, currently has 10.77 million subs, followed by AT&T (5.95 million), Verizon (5.77 million), Charter (4.12 million), Cablevision (2.64 million) and Mediacom (800,000).

“With regular reports of television subscriber losses, it appears that many of these services are struggling to maintain customer numbers in a mature competitive market,” said William Cooper, editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index.

However, he noted the overall loss was “less than 0.5 per cent” of the platforms’ combined subscriber base of 87.5 million.