The U.S. linear video subscription business is fiercely competitive, and though still arguably highly resistant to customer churn, the latest data from Leichtman Research Group might suggest the fundamental trend, a grinding slow shift of share from cable to telco providers, simply continues.
The largest U.S. cable operators lost a net 1.7 million video customers in 2013, according to LRG, while satellite providers lost 170,000 subscribers. Telcos gained 1.5 million video customers.
Basically, the market share shift amounted to an annual cable provider loss of about 1.8 percent and a gain by telcos of about 1.6 percent.
The total linear video market, which includes cable, satellite, and telco providers, lost about 105,000 net video subscribers in 2013, so the market contracted slightly.
In the market as a whole, there were 94.6 million subscribers at the end of 2013. The top cable operators had 49.6 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies had 34.3 million subscribers and the top telephone companies had 10.7 million subscribers.
Cable had 52 percent market share, satellite providers 36 percent share and telcos (AT&T and Verizon) about 11 percent share, according to Leichtman Research.
At the moment, there seems no catalyst that would dramatically affect the rate of market share change among the top video providers, by market segment, with one exception.
As AT&T ramps up its Project VIP, adding more bandwidth to 57 million fixed network customer locations (consumer and small business) and 75 percent of all customer locations in its wireline service area by year-end 2015.
The project will expand U-verse (TV, Internet, Voice over IP) by more than a third or about 8.5 million additional customer locations, for a total potential U-verse market of 33 million customer locations, according to AT&T.
AT&T also planned to offer U-verse IP-DSLAM service (high-speed IP Internet access and VoIP) to 24 million customer locations in its wireline service area by the end of 2013.
Project VIP features an upgrade for U-verse to speeds of up to 75 Mbps and for U-verse IP-DSLAM to speeds of up to 45 Mbps, with a path to deliver even higher speeds in the future.
All of that will make video products easier to sell. So if you were watching for any signs that market share shift rates could change, watch for AT&T’s net video additions.
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