MVPDs leaking subscribers


Cable / SatelliteAccording to the latest count from SNL Kagan, multichannel video program distributors as a group are continuing to bleed customers – but one of the trio, which includes cable, satellite and telco, is growing.

If you guessed that the up-and-coming MVPD platform is telco, you would be correct. It enjoyed significant Q2 growth, much of it likely coming from the losses experienced by the other two, but not enough to prevent the overall dip into negative numbers.

According to the report, the industry lost 366K total subscriptions during Q2 2013. While not a good number, it nevertheless constituted an improvement of 11% compared to losses incurred during Q2 2012.

The total number of subscribers for the three platforms combined is 200K smaller than at the end of Q2 2012, but is 121K higher than it was at the end of Q2 2011.

Cable was the clear Q2 2012 loss leader, down 607K subscribers. Although that is an improvement over the comparable quarter’s loss, it is only the tip of the iceberg the industry is running into. SNL Kagan says its loss of video customers over the year totals 1.8 million, and its total share of MVPD customers now stands at 55.3%.

Satellite is hampered by its lack of a broadband component and is also down. SNL Kagan says the industry seems to be dealing with a subscriber ceiling of 34 million and lost 162K subs in Q2 2013.

The story for telco providers was entirely different. It netted more than 400K new subscribers during the quarter in rising to 10.7 million total video customers.

RBR-TVBR observation: Look for another bad quarter for cable and another good quarter for telco when the Q3 report comes out as a direct result of the CBS-TWC retransmission consent altercation. Stories of people in TWC markets dropping the company for telco service were rampant during the month hostilities were in progress.