U.S. cable, satellite and telcoTV lost 3.5 million subs in 2017

Cable, satellite, telcoTV all lose subs

The traditional pay television industry in the United States had its worst year ever in 2017. The top seven public companies, which jointly account for 85% of pay TV subscribers, lost 3 million residential subscribers. If this 3.7% decline holds true for the operators serving the other 15% of subscribers, the industry will have lost 3.5 million subscribers.

Telco TV faired the worst in the year. AT&T U-verse lost 17% of its subscriber base. The huge loss is primarily attributable to the fact that AT&T is working hard to retire the service, pushing subscribers to switch to DirecTV and DirecTV Now. Verizon FiOS lost 1.6% of its pay TV customers.

Satellite operators lost 5.4% of its customers. Dish Network subscribers lost 10.3%, down an amazing 1.14 million. DirecTV lost 554,000 customers, or 2.7%, despite AT&T making a huge marketing push to bring U-verse customers to the services.

Cable held up the best in the face of this broad overall decline. Comcast, Charter, and Altice jointly lost 1.1% of their video customers. Comcast had the lowest overall decline, losing just 0.8% of subscribers. Charter was down 1.8% and Altice down 3.8%.

The X1 bubble has burst

Last year, Comcast enjoyed the first full year of growth in pay TV subscribers in 10 years. The company gained 103,000 subscribers. The company’s market-leading X1 service seemed to be doing a great job attracting disaffected subscribers from other pay TV services. Showcases such as the Rio Olympics, which Comcast integrated into a unique experience on X1, did a great job of marketing the service.

In 2017 far more customers left rival satellite and telcoTV providers than in 2016. Unfortunately for Comcast, most appear to have left traditional pay TV altogether rather than switching to its premium X1 experience. As my podcast partner Will Richmond remarked to me last week, it seems like Comcast has already won all the customers that would want its high-priced TV experience.

vMVPDs enable an exit from high price plans

The biggest beneficiary of the massive decline in traditional pay TV is the new online virtual MVPDs. The existence of services like Sling TV and DirecTV Now is a major reason many people now feel they can live without their cable or satellite company. Before these companies existed, it was impossible to get content from channels like ESPN and TNT without pay television. Now, a $20 a month subscription to Sling TV provides both.

Dish Network reported that Sling TV gained 710,000 subscribers in 2017 to reach 2.21 million. DirecTV Now reached the 1 million subscriber mark in December, impressive performance by the barely 1-year-old service. Overall, vMVPDs have about 4.6 million subscribers or about 5% of total MVPD subscribers.

Compared to traditional pay TV, the vMVPD business is terrible. nScreenMedia estimates that even after YouTube TV’s $5 price increase the service is barely breaking even. The same is likely true at other providers, like DirecTV Now. However, none of the major vMVPDs show any sign of backing away from their aggressive pricing. Linear television services are part of more important strategic initiatives that make low or non-existent profit margins tolerable for companies like AT&T and Google.

read more here: www.nscreenmedia.com

Digital transition drives growth in European cable

The cable industry is growing, with total revenues up 4.6% year on year based on IHS statistics released today by the industry’s trade association, Cable Europe, at the annual Cable Congress in Brussels.

Revenue growth remains solid across all cable services: broadband internet (7.5%), TV (3.7%) and telephony (2.1%). Broadband represents an increasing share of revenue at 32.8%, and the number of broadband subscribers rose 5.9%. Television continues to be the largest source of profit for the industry, accounting for 46.5% of the €23.45 billion of revenue.

The digital transition continues to be an important driver for TV services, with revenue growth for TV driven by a strong appetite for digital subscriptions and video on demand (VOD). Digital TV subscribers rose 6.3%, accounting for 66.3% of all TV subscriptions and generating 80% of TV revenue.

More than 2.7 million Revenue Generating Units (RGUs), the industry metric for the total sum of TV, internet and telephony subscriptions, were added in 2016, and the total across Europe is now 118.24 million.

Manuel Kohnstamm, President of Cable Europe, commented: “Overall digital VOD revenue has increased by 14.1% year on year, showing solid growth in the year. Going forward, we still see huge opportunities for sustained digital growth in Europe, as 18.5 million analogue TV subscribers are still to convert.”

read more here:

http://www.digitaltvnews.net/?p=28823

Pay TV Lost Subscribers in 2016 as Cord-Cutting Accelerates

Cable, satellite, and telco multichannel providers combined lost 1.8 million U.S. subscribers in 2016, notes Kagan, formerly SNL Kagan and now part of S&P Global Market Intelligence. According to Kagan’s U.S. multichannel subscriber report for Q4 2016, cord-cutting accelerated in that period with a decline of 460,000 subscribers. That left cable, satellite, and telcos with 94.7 million subscribers at the end of the year.

Looking at cable alone, the report says its decline is slowing. Cable lost 472,000 subscribers in 2016, which is 28.5 percent less than its 2015 decline. It was also the best loss cable has had since 2007. It says something about the pace of cord-cutting that a loss of nearly half a million subscribers is a positive.

Cable lost 103,000 subscribers in Q4 2016, while satellite lost 18,000 in that period. Telcos did especially poorly, with a Q4 loss of 338,000 subscribers. That’s driven by the planned retirement of AT&T U-verse, Kagan notes.

Overall, 77.5 percent of U.S. household have a pay TV subscription, down from 81.3 percent in Q1 2015.

read more here:
http://www.streamingmedia.com/Articles/News/Online-Video-News/Pay-TV-Lost-1.8M-Subscribers-in-2016-as-Cord-Cutting-Accelerates-116888.aspx