The top pay TV operators in the United States added 101,000 new subscribers during the fourth quarter to end a roller coaster year in 2014 according to the latest data from Strategy Analytics (www.strategyanalytics.com)
The declining trend in pay TV subscribers in North America, seen during the second and third quarters, reversed in the fourth quarter, with overall growth in both the US and Canada.
The 19 tracked operators in the US added 101,000 subscribers while operators in Canada added 5,000. In the US, the increase in the fourth quarter brought the total tracked subscribers to 96.1 million, representing more than 95% of the total US market. Digital subscriber growth has continued throughout 2014, ending the year at nearly 95 million.
“2014 started and finished strong, with growth in Pay TV subscribers in both the first and fourth quarters,” says Jason Blackwell, director of Service Provider Strategies, Strategy Analytics. “The middle of the year was a bit rough, with subscriber losses in the second and third quarters. Overall, the year was flat, with our tracked operators losing only 4,000 subscribers.”
Cord cutting remains a threat, and there are new options for consumers that have deployed during the first quarter of 2015, specifically the Sling TV service from Dish Network, he adds. Strategy Analytics also expects to see more standalone services from HBO, Showtime, and others. Other key findings from the report include:
° During 2014, the US satellite market grew by only 20,000 subscribers as DirecTV had a strong year while Dish Network suffered losses.
° IPTV operators in the US added 1.16 million new subscribers in 2014. Verizon added 387,000 new subs and AT&T, which sold its Connecticut assets to Frontier, added 478,000.
° Cable continued to suffer from Pay TV subscriber losses, with a total of 1.18 million during the year. During the fourth quarter, the tracked cable operators lost 195,000 video subscribers.