2015 numbers that have come in from various pay TV operators have generally shown modest drops in customer counts, but a new report from Leichtman Research Group offers up a more blurry analysis of the industry at large.
"2015 marked the third consecutive year for pay TV industry net losses, yet the total number of subscribers for major pay TV providers (including DISH's Sling TV) has declined by less than one million since the industry peaked in 1Q 2012," Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at the research firm, says.
"2015 also saw significant shifts for cable and telco providers. The top cable providers cumulatively had their best year since 2006, and had about 870,000 fewer losses than in 2014. Telcos had about 1,170,000 fewer net additions than in 2014, and had their worst year since they began providing video services in 2006."
The research firm is reporting its finding that the 13 largest U.S. pay TV providers in the US — representing about 95% of the market — lost about 385,000 net video subscribers in 2015, compared to a drop of about 150,000 subscribers in 2014, and a loss of about 100,000 subscribers in 2013.
The top pay TV providers account for 94.2 million subscribers — with the top nine cable companies having over 49 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies about 33.7 million subscribers, and the top telephone companies nearly 11.5 million subscribers.
Satellite TV providers added 86,000 subscribers in 2015 (including gains from DISH's Internet-delivered Sling TV). That compares to a gain of 20,000 in 2014. Not including gains from Sling TV, satellite lost about 450,000 subscribers in 2015, according to the findings.
The top telephone providers lost 125,000 video subscribers in 2015, which compares to a gain of about 1,050,000 net additions in 2014. Telco net adds in 2015 were the fewest in any year since the services started in 2006, Leichtman reports.