Sub Losses Slow For MVPDs In Q4

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There was a bit of a silver lining on the final three months of 2017 for an industry rife with challenges in the months and years ahead.


According to the just-released Fourth Quarter 2017 U.S. Multichannel Subscriber Report from S&P Global Market Intelligence group Kagan, subscription losses slowed for traditional multichannel video providers in the quarter.

But, it was hardly enough to stop a disappointing year for MVPDs.

“The sector still tumbled for the full year,” Kagan says of the MVPDs it measured in 2017.

Combined cable, direct broadcast satellite (DBS) and telecommunication (telco) multichannel subscriptions fell to 94 million, including 91.1 million residential customers.

Combined cable, DBS and telco subscriptions are now down approximately 7.4 million from their peak in 2012.

The findings further data that suggest cable TV networks will continue to lose subscribers, and ad dollars. As RBR+TVBR reported Monday (3/12), the future for Cable TV revenues appears to be bleak, Digital TV Research data show: Revenue peaked in 2010 at $54.11 billion, and is forecast to fall to $36.75 billion by 2023.

Kagan’s Q4 multichannel subscriber report also finds that the total multichannel count including the top two virtual service providers, Sling TV and DirecTV NOW, is at 97.3 million.

The growth of “over the top” (OTT) offerings has been eyed as a catalyst behind the eroding number of households that have traditional cable TV services. According to Kagan, cable operators lost an estimated 986,411 video subscribers in 2017 — more than twice the 2016 drop. That broke the sector’s three-year streak of decelerating video subscriber losses.

Meanwhile, Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS) providers DirecTV and DISH had a down year, shedding close to 1.7 million subscribers in 2017 — “by far its biggest annual loss on record,” Kagan reports.