Aug 24, 2018

Cable TV Customer Losses

AT&T and DISH own the top streaming services that offer live streaming of cable TV networks. They reported 1.5 million video losses, but were padded by the gains of DirecTV Now and Sling TV.

After digging through the 2017 earnings reports of the top six traditional pay-TV subscribers I discovered the following.

During 2017 Comcast dropped 186,000 residential video subscribers, Charter lost 292,000 subscribers, AT&T lost 554,000 Direct TV satellite subscribers and 622,000 U-Verse subscribers, DISH dropped 1,140,000 video customers, Verizon Fios lost 75,000 video subscribers,  and Altice which owns Optimum, Cablevision and Suddenlink lost 129,000 video subs.

That totals nearly 3 million video subscriber losses for the top six providers in one year. These companies make up roughly 85% to 90% of the pay-TV market, so there are likely more losses for privately held providers like Cox and others.

Sling TV added 711,000 subscribers during 2017 and DirecTV Now added 888,000 customers to its service. With these two streaming services picking up 1.6 million customers in 2017 it is evident that traditional set-top box TV is quickly becoming a thing of the past.

Reported 1st quarter 2018 video subscriber losses were much heavier than expected. Charter reported a loss of 122,000. Comcast also reported a loss of 92,000 to start the year. AT&T lost 188,000 satellite customers; however, AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming service added 312,000 subscribers.

Even if you have cable TV, an indoor or outdoor antenna is a cheap one-time investment to supplement your viewing. Also, antenna TV has a much better picture quality than cable and is a handy backup for those times when cable or internet stop working.

Incidentally, according to Parks Associates, about twenty percent of US homes with broadband internet used an antenna during 2017, a thirty six percent rise.

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