3Q11 Connections: DBS Subscribers
As has been the trend in recent quarters, the number of DBS connections continued to grow in the third quarter, but DirecTV was the beneficiary, while DISH Networks continued to lose customers. Total DBS video connections numbered more than 33.7m at the end of September, up 216k from 2Q11. YoY DBS customers have grown by nearly 500k—but DirecTV has added a total of 826k while DISH’s total has fallen by 344k, or 2.4%. DirecTV was serving nearly 19.8m at the end of the quarter while DISH’s sub base slipped below 14m. Cable provider Comcast remained the largest video service provider in the quarter, with 22.36m customers, but given recent trends, could be displaced by DirecTV some time next year. DISH comes in fourth, followed by Time Warner Cable with 12.1m.
Fewer and fewer ILECs are breaking out their DBS subscriber counts, and some, like Verizon and AT&T are no longer actively marketing the service as they promote their own video services. At last count, CenturyLink was serving approximately 1.7m DBS customers and Frontier Communications had between 400k-500k. Windstream also served about 450k at the end of the third quarter, up 3.6% YoY.