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AT&T posts record subs loss as US pay TV slows

AT&T’s U-verse IPTV service recorded the single largest quarterly subs reverse ever in Q1, shedding 380,000 customers.

The numbers were revealed in Leichtman Research’s latest US pay TV report. The research house noted that across the board, the thirteen largest US pay TV operators recorded a 10,000 net subs gain in Q1, but that compared with a 170,000 subs uptick in the same period a year earlier.

The top nine cable operators added 50,000 video subs compared to a 65,000 loss a year earlier, Leichtman noted, marking the first quarter in which the MSOs reported a net gain since 2008.

DTH operators, meanwhile, added 305,000 subs, compared to 95,000 in 1Q15. DirecTV was a notably strong performer, adding more subs than in any quarter since the start of 2009.

The telcos, however, suffered in the quarter with AT&T in particular a drag on the numbers.

“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.

“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.”