Pivotal Research Group analyst Jeff Wlodarczak estimates net losses in the fourth quarter will amount to 1.5 million from combined cable, satellite, and telco services. In the third quarter just completed, there was a 2.1 million net loss.
Total legacy pay TV providers will total 83.0 million in the fourth quarter, which would be a 6.4% drop from the fourth quarter of 2018.
New virtual pay TV providers will not make up much of those declines. After adding a total of 80,000 in the third quarter of this year -- to reach a total of 4.6 million -- Wlodarczak estimates a growth of 123,000 to total 4.7 million.
“We have never viewed vMVPD's virtual multichannel video program distributors as particularly innovative and when factoring in higher standalone data pricing are basically offering consumers fewer channels at roughly the same price without the quality of service,” writes Wlodarczak.
He adds: “The moment vMVPD's try to normalize their prices they unsurprisingly bleed subscribers.” The former DirecTV Now (AT&T TV Now) had a net loss of 195,000 subscribers during the period.
Overall U.S. pay TV services -- traditional and virtual -- are projected to slip to 87.7 million in the fourth quarter, down 6% from the same period the year before.
Total cable-based TV platforms will total 48 million, with satellite at 26.5 million and telco at 8.5 million.