LRG 11 2015 Header
Press Release


Gains from DirecTV and Cable Were Offset by Significant Losses from AT&T U-verse

Durham, NH -- May 17, 2016 -- Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the US -- representing about 95% 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, Inc. "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."

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at
End of 1Q 2016
Net Adds in
1Q 2016
Cable Companies
Comcast 22,400,000 53,000
Time Warner Cable 11,056,000 21,000
Charter 4,445,000 15,000
Cablevision 2,579,000 (15,000)
Suddenlink 1,085,000 (8,000)
Mediacom 853,000 (2,000)
Cable ONE 350,576 (13,574)
Other major private companies* 6,345,000 --
Total Top Cable 49,113,576 50,426
Satellite TV Companies (DBS)
DirecTV 20,112,000 328,000
DISH^ 13,874,000 (23,000)
Total DBS 33,986,000 305,000
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 5,863,000 36,000
AT&T U-verse 5,260,000 (380,000)
Total Top Phone 11,123,000 (344,000)
Total Top Pay-TV Providers 94,222,576 11,426
Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* Includes LRG estimates for Cox and Bright House Networks
^ DISH totals and net adds in 1Q 2016 include its Internet-delivered Sling TV service (which began in 1Q 2015)
Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions, and reporting adjustments
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 95% of all subscribers
Top cable companies do not include overbuilder WOW with 537,200 subscribers
Note that LRG consumer research finds that about 1% of households subscribe to both cable and DBS

About Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) specializes in research and analysis on the broadband, media and entertainment industries. LRG combines ongoing consumer research studies with industry tracking and analysis, to provide companies with a richer understanding of current market conditions, and the adoption and impact of new products and services. For more information about LRG, please call (603) 397-5400 or visit

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