Pay TV Providers Hold Steady, Cable Continues To Lose Subscribers

In a battle for traditional TV consumers, things might not seem as bad as they appear for the entire pay TV provider industry.

TV subscribers in 2013 for all pay TV providers -- cable, satellite, and telco -- were down just 0.1%, or 105,000 subscribers, according to Leichtman Research Corp.

Research now shows that U.S. pay TV subscribers total 94.6 million subscribers. Nielsen says U.S. TV homes measure at 115.6 million for the 2013-2014 TV season.

Cable systems continue to lose the most business. At the end of 2013, the top nine cable operators were down 3% (1.73 million subscribers) to total 49.6 million. In 2012, the same group of operators lost 1.4 million subscribers. Satellite TV providers were up -- barely, at 0.5%, or 170,000 subscribers to total 34.3 million.

The best performers continue to be telco pay TV providers -- AT&T U-verse and Verizon FiOS -- growing a collective 16% (or 1.46 million) to 10.7 million viewers.

"While the overall market remains fairly flat, further share-shifting has taken place,” stated Bruce Leichtman, president/principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “Cable providers now have a 52% share of the top multichannel video subscribers in the U.S., compared to a 58% share three years ago."

"Watching TV" photo from Shutterstock.

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1 comment about "Pay TV Providers Hold Steady, Cable Continues To Lose Subscribers".
  1. Chris Verdugo from Contra Costa Television , March 18, 2014 at 2:29 p.m.
    In a regulatory sense, U-Verse and FiOS are cable operators- where a local or state franchise must be obtained. Because of this, your headline is misleading. Satellite isn't regulated the same as cable operators, hence this is an apples and oranges salad. Yes, there is share-shifting, but mainly among cable operators.