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US cablecos to post heavy sub losses this year

US cable operators lost nearly half a million TV subscribers in the third quarter of this year as competition from IPTV services like AT&T’s ‘U-verse’ continues to bite – better than previous quarters but still attritional, according to IHS iSuppli.

Cable operators managed to trim their subscriber losses in the third quarter by using heavy promotional bundles as well as service initiatives such as TV Everywhere, which offers features like live linear streaming of cable networks in-home and video-on-demand service in and out of home, through the open Internet.

However, cable TV is expected to suffer heavier subscriber losses in 2012 than it did in 2011, with the total number of cable TV customers predicted to fall 3% annually from 58.4mn in 2011 to 56.6mn in 2012. Over-the-top (OTT) video and an ailing economy are also thought to be partly to blame for the continued loss of video subscribers.

However, it’s not all doom and gloom – while video subscribers continue to churn, operators are still adding data and voice customers, (up 983,000 and 276,000 respectively in Q3), meaning that the total US cable subscriber revenue-generating units (RGUs) rose 0.4% sequentially in the three months to October, says the research firm.

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