Pay-television subscribers declined by 1.53 million in the second quarter of 2019, according to a report from Leichtman Research Group (LRG), down more than three times as much as the same period last year when 420,000 subscribers cut the cord.
LRG based its findings on companies representing about 93 percent of the U.S. pay-TV marketplace, it said.
Those companies now account for approximately 86.6 million subscribers, with the top seven cable companies comprising 46.5 million subs, satellite TV services 27.5 million subs, top telephone companies 8.8 million subs and top Internet-delivered pay-TV services, such as Sling TV and DirecTV Now, 3.8 million subscribers. Of those categories, satellite TV services have been the hardest hit, according to LRG.
“This marked the fourth consecutive quarter of record pay-TV industry net losses,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, in a statement. “With an increased focus on acquiring and retaining profitable subscribers, [satellite] services accounted for more than half of the net pay-TV losses in 2Q 2019, and 63 percent of the losses over the past year.”
Cord-cutting is affecting cable companies, which have converted themselves into broadcast companies, less than satellite TV companies, which face a much higher hurdle when it comes to offering their customers two-way high-speed internet service. Even if subscribers decide to cancel their pay-TV programming services, they usually keep their high-speed broadband service so they can stream the services and programming that they want, such as subscription video on demand services like Netflix or Hulu.
AT&T-owned pay-TV satellite TV provider DirecTV claimed nearly 18 million subscribers at the end of the quarter, having dropped 778,000, while Dish Network had its best quarter since the end of 2014, dropping just 79,000. Combined, satellite TV services lost about 855,000 subscribers in the second quarter of this year, compared to a net loss of about 480,000 subscribers last year at this time.
The top seven cable companies combined lost about 455,000 video subscribers in the second quarter of this year, compared to 275,000 last year, marking the highest subscriber losses in five years. Telephone company provided pay-TV services more than doubled their subscriber losses in the quarter, chalking up 100,000 losses in this quarter compared to 45,000 in the same quarter last year.
Over the past year, pay-TV providers have lost more than five million subscribers, compared to just over one million cancellations in the prior year.
READ MORE: Deadline