By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
DIRECTV, which includes the satellite service, DIRECTV Stream and U-verse, lost approximately 400,000 subscribers in this year’s second quarter, according to a new report from Leichtman Research Group. The company says that left DIRECTV with 12.35 million subs total at the end of the quarter, which would make it the third largest pay TV operator in the United States behind Comcast (15 million) and Charter’s Spectrum TV (14.7 million).

However, DIRECTV had 25.47 million subscribers in 2015 when AT&T first purchased the company. (AT&T now owns 70 percent of DIRECTV with private equity firm, TPG, owning 30 percent.) That would mean that DIRECTV has lost more than 13 million subscribers in eight years, more than half of its total in 2015. The pay TV industry has been hit hard by the cord-cutting trend with millions of subscribers opting for less expensive streaming plans. But no cable or satellite operator has lost anything close to the number of subscribers that DIRECTV has since 2015.

By comparison, Comcast’s Xfinity TV service has lost approximately 7.3 million subscribers since the third quarter of 2015 (when AT&T purchased DIRECTV) to DIRECTV’s 13 million. Dish, which also owns the live streamer, Sling TV, has lost five million subscribers in the eight years. (13.9 million to 8.9 million.)

DIRECTV could lose even more subscribers in this year’s third quarter (July through September) due to losing 159 Nexstar-owned local stations in a carriage row between the companies. The Nexstar blackout is now six weeks old with no settlement in sight and many subscribers have voiced their growing frustration on social media. The satcaster is also entering its first football season since 1994 without the exclusive carriage of the NFL Sunday Ticket, which is now held by Google’s YouTube TV and YouTube TV Primetime Channels. Leichtman reports that YouTube TV added a net 200,000 subscribers in the second quarter, the only major pay TV service to add subs during the time period.

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— Phillip Swann