Satellite Adds Video Subscribers, Cable Dips

U.S. multichannel video subscribers eked out a small gain in 2012 -- coming from satellite and telco distributors.

SNL Kagan says the three TV distribution platforms added 46,000 video customers in 2012, getting to 100.4 million consumers. Kagan says the three primary TV platforms now account for 84.7% of the occupied homes in the U.S., down from a high point of 87.3% in first quarter of 2010.

Most of that gain appears to have come in the fourth quarter, where Kagan says all the multichannel service providers in the U.S. collectively added 51,000 new customers. It says there were seasonally weak second and third quarters erased a 2012 first-quarter bump.

Cable TV distributors continued to lose ground, now at 56.4 million -- but still the biggest U.S. TV multichannel distributor -- a loss of 1.66 million subscribers versus 2011. The year before it lost 1.8 million.

Satellite TV distributors grew slightly, adding 288,000 customers to 34.1 million. Telco TV companies continued to have the biggest rise -- 1.4 million to 9.9 million, respectively. This area had a 1.6 million gain in 2011.

Kagan says "the modest fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 subscriber growth suggests the segment is not rebounding with the broader economy, and customer formation is lagging the rebounding housing market."



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