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Cable Technology Feature Article

August 13, 2012

Cable and Satellite Subscribers Drop in Q2, as Usual

By Rory Lidstone, TMCnet Contributing Writer

Most major cable and satellite TV providers have made public their earnings reports for the second quarter of 2012. Traditionally, the second quarter isn't the strongest for pay TV services as many students cancel their subscriptions in preparation for the summer along with those who cancel their winter subscriptions before heading to their summer homes.

Taking a look in detail, it would seem that this year isn't much of an exception, as most providers did indeed post net losses in terms of subscribers.

Dish Network Corp., for example lost a net of 10,000 subscribers, which was actually a smaller loss than was predicted by analysts. The company still held onto a little over 14 million subscribers, while retaining the title of third-largest pay TV provider in the U.S.

Time Warner (News - Alert) Cable, the second-largest cable company, lost 169,000 subscribers in Q2, a record number for the company. The company did recently procure a long-term affiliation agreement with Fox News, however, extending the previous agreement they had which expired at the end of July.

Comcast (News - Alert) Corp. managed to retain its title as the nation's largest pay TV provider with a subscriber base of 22.1 million. The company lost 176,000 subscribers in Q2, though apparently subscriber loss has slowed going into the third quarter.

Two companies bucking the trend of lost subscribers are Verizon Communications and AT&T (News - Alert), which added 120,000 and 155,000 subscribers, respectively. Verizon's FiOS video service boasted 4.5 million customers at the end of June, while AT&T U-verse TV subscribers sat at 4.1 million.

Cablevision Systems (News - Alert) also did not lose subscribers in the second quarter, holding its subscriber base steady for the second quarter in a row at 3.3 million.

DirecTV (News - Alert), on the other hand, posted its first customer net loss in Q2. 52,000 left the second-largest provider of pay TV in the country, leaving it with 19.9 million U.S. subscribers.

Lastly, Charter Communications, the fourth-largest cable provider in the country, lost 72,000 customers, ending the quarter with 4.3 million.

Edited by Juliana Kenny

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