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Pay-TV suffers ‘worst ever quarter’

The first quarter of 2017 was the ‘worst ever’ for pay-TV subscription losses, according to the latest informitv research.

The company’s Multiscreen Index found that the ten leading pay-TV services in the US lost more than half a million TV subscribers in that period.

This equates to a quarterly reduction of 0.63 per cent, compared with a loss of about one per cent over the entire course of 2016 – making it the largest loss of all time in the sector.

The top ten services account for just under three-quarters of all TV homes in the US.

“This is the largest quarterly TV subscriber loss we have seen so far in the US,” said informitv analyst Sue Farrell.

“A 0.63 per cent quarterly reduction is clearly significant and implies an acceleration in subscriber losses.”

The ten services still have 87.93 million TV subscribers between them.

The research found that:

– Only two companies added subs: Comcast gained 41,000 TV customers, an increase of 149,000 year-on-year, or 0.7 per cent, while Mediacom saw a modest addition of 4,000 in the quarter (although it lost 21,000 year-on-year)

– DIRECTV gained 900,000 year-on-year, an increase of 4.5 per cent

– AT&T U-verse lost 233,000 TV customers in the first quarter, or 5.5 per cent, making a 23.2% per cent year-on-year loss of 1.21 million

– DISH Network lost 143,000 subscribers, contributing to a year-on-year loss of 346,000, or 2.5 per cent

– Charter Spectrum lost 100,000 TV subscribers, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss, resulting in a two per cent year-on-year reduction of 350,000

– Frontier lost 80,000 subscribers, having lost 358,000 the previous quarter

– Optimum and Suddenlink, both controlled by Altice, lost 15,000 and 20,000 residential TV customers respectively

– Verizon Fios lost 13,000 TV customers