The thirteen largest pay-TV providers in the US added less than 10,000 net video subscribers in the first quarter, traditionally the strongest, compared to a gain of over 250,000 the year before, according to a study by the Leichtman Research Group. The slow-down was attributed to changes in consumer demand for video services encouraged by competition from alternatives, and to several providers putting their focus more on higher-value/lower-churn customers at the expense of the volume of subscribers.

The providers represent around 95 percent of the market, or nearly 95.2 million, with the top nine cable companies making up 49.2 million video subscribers, satellite TV companies over 34.2 million subscribers and the top telephony companies over 11.7 million subscribers.

During the quarter, the top nine cable lost about 60,000 video subscribers, similar to the loss recorded a year earlier of 50,000, while satellite TV providers lost 74,000 subscribers, compared to a gain of 52,000. Total DBS net adds were the fewest in any first quarter, and fourth lowest in any quarter, since the researchers started tracking the industry. Net video adds for the telecom companies were the fewest in any quarter since Q4 2006. Over the past year, pay-TV providers lost about 370,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 65,000 subscribers over the previous year.

The top telephone providers meanwhile added 140,000 video subscribers, compared to 251,000 net additions the year before.