US telcos see lowest TV gains since Q3 2007

The thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the US (representing around 94% of the market) lost 325,000 net subscribers in the second quarter of this year, according to Leichtman Research Group, which hastens to add that these losses are comparable to the same period of 2011.

The top nine cable TV providers are estimated to have lost around 540,000 subscribers in the three-month period, compared to a net loss of about 600,000 one year earlier.

Satellite TV providers lost 62,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year, compared to a net loss of 109,000 in the same period of 2011. DirecTV posted its first-ever quarterly subscriber loss, of 52,000.

The nation’s telco TV providers meanwhile continued to add subscribers, but saw their slowest quarter since the third quarter of 2007. AT&T, Verizon et al added 275,000 video subscribers in the three months to June 2012.

“While reports of multi-channel video industry losses in the second quarter of 2012 have rekindled pronouncements of cord-cutting impacting the industry, the reality is that industry-wide losses in the traditionally weak quarter were nearly identical to losses in last year’s second quarter,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.

These findings tally with another recent report from IHS iSuppli, which estimated that the US pay-TV market contracted by 348,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year.

Meanwhile, Parks Associates has found that while cord-cutting is not the threat once thought, another threat is emerging which is just as dangerous to the nation’s established pay-TV providers: ‘cord-switching’.

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