Subs slide across all platforms for US pay-TV providers
Editor | 04-09-2013
Second-quarter 2013 US multichannel subscriber numbers have, sadly for operators, followed their expected downward trajectory according to new market data from SNL Kagan.
Summing up the fundamental market dynamics, the analyst said that the seasonally soft period showed the classic signs of a mature industry concurrently struggling to make gains while still holding a significant, but not absolute, share of the US market.
SNL Kagan calculated that cable, satellite and telco pay-TV providers collectively lost 366,000 video subscriptions in the second quarter, a disappointment assuaged somewhat by the fact that this was actually an 11% improvement compared with the fall in the same quarter of the previous year. However that still meant that the combined cable, telco and DBS numbers were more than 200,000 lower than in Q2 2012. Looking over a two-year period, the analyst's numbers showed a total growth of only 121,000 subs.
Cable bore the brunt of the hurt, with its basic video tally dropping by 1.8 million in the trailing 12 months, and its share of the combined customers dipping to 55.3%. The sector doubled its losses from the previous quarter, but with an estimated decline of 607,000 being a marginal improvement on the year-ago measure.
The traditionally strong satellite sector showed it too was not immune to losses, with SNL Kagan regarding the DBS segment's largely single-play offerings failing to rise much above the 34 million subscriber level. In all there was a drop of 162,000 in the quarter which, while being the single-largest quarterly decline, was still slightly ahead of its year mark with a small increase over the trailing 12 months.
By contrast, IPTV injected some impetus with telcos shaving video share from the cable and satellite rivals despite what the analyst called uneven footprint expansion in the first half of 2013. The telcos were said to have made more than 400,000 net adds, significantly more than in the year-ago quarter, ending up with 10.7 million total video customers as of mid-2013.