Strategy Analytics’ analysis of pay TV subscriber numbers shows Virtual Multichannel Video Programming Distributor (vMVPDs) with 868K net adds in 2Q 2018 bringing the total number of vMVPD subscribers to 6.73M, up 119% YoY.
Despite this, overall pay TV subscribers (cable, satellite, IPTV, vMVPD) fell to 93.78M, breaking a string of two consecutive quarters of growth, according to Strategy Analytics’ Television & Media Strategies (TMS) report, US Pay TV and Video Subscriber Update – 2Q 2018, which examines the subscriber bases of 27 public traded and private pay TV operators, accounting for 97% of all pay TV subscriptions.
“While the entire vMVPD segment is growing, AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW deserves special notice,” said Michael Goodman, Director, Television & Media Strategies, given how rapidly it has grown in a fairly short period of time. If it continues on its current growth trajectory it will overtake Sling TV as the largest vMVPD in early 2019.”
In comparison, 2Q 2018 was not particularly kind to legacy pay TV providers (e.g., cable, satellite, IPTV) as they lost nearly as many subscribers (-973K) as the prior two quarters combined (-1.16M). In 2Q 2018, total legacy pay TV subscriptions fell to 87.05M, down 3.6% YoY.
“Historically, pay TV in the U.S. has consisted of cable, satellite, and IPTV; however, the introduction of over-the-top pay TV services, commonly referred to as vMVPDs, necessitates a change in our thinking,” said Goodman.
“What we have commonly referred to as pay TV (cable, satellite, and IPTV) should now be referred to as Legacy Pay TV, while the definition of Pay TV should include vMVPDs.”