US telcos gain as cable, satellite rivals lose in tough Q3
| 08 November 2014
More evidence of what has been a very challenging third quarter for the US pay-TV industry has emerged in the latest informitv Multiscreen Index, which has revealed a net loss of 45,000 digital TV homes.

multiscreen indexThese losses were spread across the ten leading service providers in the country and the survey also shows that the numbers were actually boosted by gains by telco providers substantially offsetting subscriber losses among leading cable and satellite television services. This says informitv suggests that in a mature market there is a demand for competitive services that can offer more flexible viewing options.

However the analyst stressed that even though any loss may seem significant, it should be viewed in the context of over 87 million television subscribers they have in total, representing a loss of just 0.05% of their subscriber base. In addition while the total number of television customers among these ten services has fallen slightly over the last two quarters, informitv calculates that this number has actually increased by around a quarter of a million over 12 months and by over half a million over two years.

Looking at the individual winners and losers, the Multiscreen Index revealed that telcos AT&T and Verizon gained 328,000 television customers between them in Q3 2014, with U-verse expanding by 214,000 and FiOS adding 114,000. Cable giants Comcast and Time Warner together lost 265,000 digital television subscribers over the quarter, while Charter, Cablevision, Mediacom and Suddenlink collectively fell by 68,000.

Satellite provider DIRECTV lost 28,000 subscribers and arch-rival Dish Network fell by 12,000, compared with gains of 139,000 and 35,000 respectively for the same quarter a year previously. These losses were put in context by the experience of leading subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) firm Netflix, which in the quarter gained another 1.18 million paid members in the US, taking its total to 36.27 million, but this appears to have had little effect on overall television subscriptions.

“There is increasing competition for customers in America,” explained William Cooper, the of the informitv Multiscreen Index editor “The leading telcos continue to gain ground, while cable companies in particular are still suffering heavy subscriber losses. The total figures do not demonstrate a mass defection from the pay-TV proposition but show that incumbent service providers cannot afford to be complacent.”