Top U.S. Linear Video Providers Lose Subs in 2015 for First Time Since 2006
For the first time since Verizon and AT&T launched their TV services in 2006, the six largest U.S. linear video subscription providers lost subscribers for a full year, despite gains in the seasonally-strong fourth quarter, says Ooyala.
There possibly should be an asterisk, however. Some of those firms now include streaming accounts in their subscriber totals. That is akin to a mobile operator including prepaid accounts as well as postpaid accounts in the subscriber totals, mixing higher revenue, higher value net adds with lower value, lower revenue gains.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, DirecTV, AT&T, Time Warner, Comcast, Dish Network and Verizon gained a net 125,000 subscribers.
DirecTV (owned by AT&T) gained 214,000 subscribers in the U.S. market, but AT&T’s U-verse also lost 240,000 for the quarter.
It was AT&T’s third consecutive quarter losing accounts, the only three quarters AT&T has failed to gain linear video accounts since 2006.
For the year, AT&T was lost a net 355,000 subs and DirecTV lost a net 568,000, Ooyala says.
Comcast added a net 89,000 accounts for the quarter. For the year, Comcast was down 36,000 accounts.
But Comcast now seems to be including streaming customers to its linear video totals.
Dish Network lost 12,000 subs in the quarter and 81,000 over the year. Notably, Dish Network definitely now includes Sling TV customers in its account totals.
According to MoffettNathanson, Dish might actually have lost 141,000 linear subs in the quarter.
Time Warner Cable added 54,000 video customers in the last quarter and 32,000 over the year,
Verizon adding 20,000 FiOS television customers in the quarter, its lowest level of net additions since 2006.
For the year, the six firms lost 781,000 accounts.
In 2014, the companies added 472,000 accounts. In 2013, they added 500,000 accounts.
Nobody will be particularly surprised by the findings. Virtually everyone considers the linear video subscription business a declining legacy business.