Big pay TV providers narrowed subscriber losses for TV network packages in the first quarter -- in largely due to growth internet-delivered TV network packages, according to a new study.
Companies accounting for 95% of the pay TV market had a collective net loss of about 305,000 subscribers in the first quarter, compared to losing 515,000 a year ago, according to the Leichtman Research Group.
This resulted in a total of 91.9 million U.S. pay TV subscribers by the end of the first quarter.
Traditional pay TV subscribers for cable, satellite and telco declined 710,000 subs in the first quarter of this year. A year ago, the industry lost 780,000 subs.
At the same time, Internet-delivered pay TV subscribers grew 403,000 for Dish Network’s Sling TV (adding 91,000) and DirecTV Now (312,000).
Sling TV now totals 2.3 million, while DirecTV Now is at 1.5 million, according to Leichtman. A year ago, those two services added 265,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2017.
The top six cable companies have a collective 47.8 million video subscribers; satellite TV services, 31.1 million; telco, 9.2 million; and internet-delivered pay-TV services (Sling TV and DirecTV Now), 3.8 million.
Since 2012 -- the peak for pay TV subscribers -- pay TV companies lost a collective net 3.4 million subs.
The biggest individual companies losers for their traditional pay TV packages in the first quarter: DirecTV (188,000 subscribers); Dish Network (185,000); Charter (112,000); and Comcast (96,000).