A Million Households Add Broadband; Pay-TV Providers Make Modest Gains

  • The Leichtman Research Group (LRG)
DURHAM, NH — Rapid broadband adoption may be boosting the rise in Pay-TV subscribers, according to two separate reports from The Leichtman Research Group (LRG), a provider of research and analysis on the broadband, media and entertainment industries.

Major Pay-TV Providers Added About 10,000 Subscribers in 1Q 2016
The thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the US — representing about 95 percent of the market — added about 10,000 net video subscribers in 1Q 2016, compared to a gain of about 170,000 subscribers in 1Q 2015.

The top pay-TV providers account for 94.2 million subscribers — with the top nine cable companies having 49.1 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies having 34.0 million subscribers (including about 665,000 from DISH's Internet-delivered Sling TV), and the top telephone companies having 11.1 million subscribers.

Other key findings for the quarter include:

  • The top nine cable companies added about 50,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2016 — compared to a loss of about 65,000 subscribers in 1Q 2015

    • Top cable MSOs had not reported net gains in a first quarter since 2008



  • Satellite TV providers added 305,000 subscribers in 1Q 2016 (including gains from Sling TV) — compared to a gain of 95,000 in 1Q 2015

    • Not including gains from Sling TV, DBS providers added about 175,000 subscribers in 1Q 2016 — compared to a loss of 74,000 in 1Q 2015

    • DirecTV's net adds of 328,000 in 1Q 2016 were more than in any quarter since 1Q 2009



  • The top phone providers lost 344,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2016 — compared to a gain of 140,000 subscribers in 1Q 2015

    • AT&T U-verse's 380,000 net losses in 1Q 2016 were the most losses ever in a quarter by any provider




"While DirecTV and top cable providers had a comparatively strong quarter in 1Q 2016, their gains were largely offset by a historically weak quarter for AT&T U-verse," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. "Overall, the traditionally strong first quarter for the pay-TV industry was tepid this year. Despite slight gains in the quarter, net adds in 1Q 2016 were down by about 160,000 from a year ago."

Nearly 1.1 Million Added Broadband in 1Q 2016
The seventeen largest cable and telephone providers in the US — representing about 95 percent of the market — acquired nearly 1.1 million net additional high-speed Internet subscribers in 1Q 2016. These top broadband providers now account for over 91.5 million subscribers with top cable companies having 56.3 million broadband subscribers, and top phone companies having 35.2 million subscribers.

Other broadband findings for the quarter include:

  • Overall, broadband additions in 1Q 2016 were 92 percent of those in 1Q 2015

  • The top cable companies accounted for 99 percent of the net broadband additions for the quarter versus the top phone companies

  • The top cable companies added about 1,065,000 broadband subscribers in 1Q 2016 — 106 percent of the net additions for the top cable companies in 1Q 2015

  • The top phone companies added about 10,000 broadband subscribers in 1Q 2016 — compared to a gain of 160,000 in 1Q 2015

  • AT&T and Verizon added 300,000 subscribers via U-verse and FiOS in 1Q 2016, while having a net loss of 324,000 DSL subscribers

  • Over the past year, there were about 3,030,000 net broadband adds — similar to about 3,000,000 over the prior year


"Cable companies had another strong quarter for broadband in 1Q 2016, adding over one million subscribers in the quarter. This marks the third time in the past five quarters that cable companies have added over a million net broadband subscribers," said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. "Broadband in the US continues to grow, with cable providers accounting for 111 percent of the three million net broadband additions over the past year."

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