In the second quarter of 2013, U.S. pay TV providers shed 352,000 subscribers, according to IHS, due mostly to a loss of 588,000 cable subscribers and 162,000 satellite subscribers.
The cable figure is roughly equal with the 598,000 subs lost in the second quarter of 2012, while the satellite figure is a steep rise over 62,000 the year before.
IPTV providers -- including AT&T Uverse and Verizon Fios, among others -- saw a net addition of 398,000 subscribers in the second quarter, up from 304,000 the year before. IPTV’s market share increased to 11%, mostly at the expense of satellite, which declined to 34%, while cable remained steady at 55% of the market.
IHS attributed satellite’s losses to the lack of high-speed Internet and triple-play bundling options. Of course, cable has issues of its own, as illustrated by the high-profile dispute between CBS and Time Warner over carriage fees, which has angered viewers.
Perhaps more serious, as these figures indicate, the overall pay TV marketplace is contracting, with a net loss of 146,000 subscribers during the first half of the year. For the full year, IHS predicts the total number of U.S. pay TV subscribers will decline from 100.89 million in 2012 to 100.77 million in 2013. That suggests future growth for relatively new entrants like IPTV will increasingly come at the expense of the incumbents, cable and satellite.
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