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Pay TV Industry Losses Increase to 385,000 Subscribers in 2015

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The pay TV industry lost over twice as many subscribers in 2015 as it did in 2014, according to findings from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG). While this will be cited as evidence by fans of cord-cutting, it's hard to see the losses as anything but miniscule compared the industry's overall robustness.

The 13 largest pay TV providers, representing 95 percent of the total market, lost 385,000 video subscribers in 2015. In 2014, they lost 150,000, and in 2013 they lost 100,000. That leaves them with 94.2 million subscribers. Subscriber losses have more then doubled, but they're still a trickle.

The satellite providers gained subscribers—but only when Dish's Sling TV is factored in. Without Sling TV, satellite lost 450,000 subscribers in 2015; with Sling TV, it gained 86,000.

Most of the loss came from the top nine cable companies, which shed 345,000 video subscribers in 2015. That's less than the 1.2 million they lost in 2014. LRG notes that this was actually cable's strongest year since 2006. The telephone providers lost 125,000 video subscribers in 2015, compared to a gain of 1.1 million in 2014.

The pay TV provider with the biggest subscriber drop in 2015 was AT&T U-verse, which lost 303,000 subscribers. For cable, both Cablevision and Cable One lost about 87,000. Verizon FIOS gained the most, with an increase of 178,000 video subscribers.

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