The broadband market has topped the pay-TV market in subscriber numbers among the largest providers, according to our analysis of the latest quarterly figures from the Leichtman Research Group (LRG).
The top pay-TV providers in the US – which together represent about 95% of the pay-TV market – shed about 655,000 subscribers during the second quarter of the year, reports the Leichtman Research Group (LRG). While that’s a narrower loss overall than during the year-earlier period (715k), the mitigating factor was a gain in subscribers to internet-delivered services such as Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW.
The end result is that the top pay-TV providers now have roughly 92.6 million paying subscribers, or about 90.7 million excluding internet-delivered services.
Broadband Subscriptions Continue Upward Trend
Internet-delivered TV services can really go only as far as broadband goes. The good news for them (and for some pay-TV companies that double as broadband providers) is that broadband subscriptions continue to increase.
During the second quarter, the top broadband providers – which combined represent 95% of the market – added about 230,000 high-speed internet subscribers. That’s 7% more than they gained in Q2 2016.
Cable companies fared particularly well, accounting for the vast majority (84%) of the net additions, or about 460,000.
In the end, this means that the largest providers broadband market, as estimated by LRG, have more than 94 million subscribers.
As such, the broadband market is now larger in size than the pay-TV market (94 million and 92.6 million subscribers, respectively, for the largest providers – representing roughly 95% of each market).
More Pay-TV Market Trends
Excluding the net gains for internet-delivered services, traditional pay-TV providers lost almost 895,000 subscribers during the second quarter, a wider loss than experienced in Q2 2016 (roughly 760,000).
The losses were most harshly felt by satellite services, which shed about 437,000 subscribers, compared to a 15,000-subscriber gain in the year-earlier period.
By contrast, it was a stronger quarter for cable companies, which lost fewer than 190,000 subscribers, down from a 225,000 loss during Q2 2016. In fact, for cable providers, it was the smallest net loss in a second quarter since 2006.
The top cable providers’ total of 48.4 million subscribers, is – as we exclusively noted last quarter – fewer subscribers than boasted by Netflix, which contains its upward swing.
For more on traditional TV trends, see our cornerstone article, The State of Traditional TV, which is updated on a quarterly basis.