The top ten television service providers in the United States shed significant numbers of subscribers during the course of the last year.
In all, they lost 937,000 television customers between them in 2016, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index. This collectively account for 88.69 million television customers, so the churn represents an annual subscriber loss of 1.05%. Yet, the number of television subscribers to the top ten services rose during 2016, as a result of mergers and acquisitions.
Specifically, Comcast gained 161,000 television customers in 2016, with net additions in three of the four quarters, compared to a net loss of 36,000 over the previous year. DIRECTV added 1.23 million television subscribers in the United States in 2016, gaining every quarter, although the AT&T U-verse service of its parent company lost 1.36 million over the year.
Verizon FiOS shed 1.13 million television customers in 2016, largely through the transfer of 1.18 million customers to Frontier Communications in April; but Verizon saw an organic gain of 59,000 over the year. Frontier, meanwhile, gained 865,000 customers over the year, including those transferred from Verizon, without which it would have lost subscribers. Charter Spectrum and DISH Network both lost 226,000 subscribers in 2016. Optimum, Suddenlink and Mediacom also lost subscribers over the year.
Six of the ten services reported television subscriber losses in the last quarter, losing 532,000 between them. AT&T reported a loss of 262,000 U-verse television customers in the quarter, as it continues to focus on DIRECTV. Optimum, formerly Cablevision, had 121,000 fewer television customers than the previous quarter, although as a result of a change in the way its owner Altice accounts for business customers it reported a loss of 15,000. With Comcast, DIRECTV, DISH Network and Verizon FiOS all reporting subscriber gains in the last quarter, the net quarterly loss across the top ten was 168,000.
“The names and rankings may change but despite losing nearly a million subscribers between them, the top ten services have 1.54 million more television subscribers between them than the top ten a year ago,” said informitv analyst Sue Farrell.
William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index, added, “Although they lost 1% of their subscriber base in 2016, these ten service providers still account for 75% of television homes in the United States.”inShare4