The top 10 television service providers in the United States lost 559,000 television customers between them in the first quarter of 2017, as reported by the informitv Multiscreen Index. That represents a quarterly subscriber reduction of 0.63%. It compares to a loss of 162,000 for the top 10 services in the previous quarter and a small gain of 18,000 in the first quarter of 2016.
Comcast went against the trend, gaining 41,000 television customers, an increase of 149,000 year on year, or 0.7%.
Mediacom was the only other service provider in the top 10 to gain television subscribers, with a modest addition of 4,000, although it lost 21,000 year on year.
DIRECTV reported no change for the quarter in the United States but gained 900,000 year on year, an increase of 4.5%. That excludes subscribers to the DIRECTV NOW online service.
AT&T U-verse lost 233,000 television customers in the first quarter, or 5.5%, making a 23.2% year on year loss of 1.21 million, as AT&T concentrated on more profitable customer acquisitions for DIRECTV.
DISH Network lost 143,000 subscribers, contributing to a year on year loss of 346,000, or 2.5%. That includes subscribers to its online Sling TV service, without which the losses would have been much larger.
Charter Spectrum lost 100,000 television subscribers, its fourth consecutive quarterly loss, resulting in a 2% year on year reduction of 350,000, driven by losses in its legacy Time Warner Cable footprint.
Frontier lost 80,000 subscribers, having lost 358,000 the previous quarter, and no longer reports DISH Network customers that it resells.
Optimum and Suddenlink, both controlled by Altice, lost 15,000 and 20,000 residential television customers respectively, with Suddenlink restated to align with the reporting methodology for Optimum.
Verizon Fios lost 13,000 television customers. Verizon transferred almost 1.19 million customers to Frontier in April 2016, reporting an organic gain of just 3,000 since then.
While significant, this 0.63% quarterly loss of over half a million subscribers needs to be viewed in context. It is important to remember that these 10 services still have 87.93 million television subscribers between them. They continue to account for three quarters of all television homes in the United States. As a result of mergers and acquisitions, together, the top 10 services still have more television subscribers than they did at the end of 2015 or 2014.
The informitv Multiscreen Index tracks 100 leading pay-TV services worldwide and is published quarterly.