Multichannel video subscriptions fell by 251,000 to about 100 million during 2013, marking the first full-year decline, according to figures released Wednesday by SNL Kagan.
The new figures could add to industry concerns that the pay TV business could shrink in the face of a weak economy, high prices and increased competition from broadband video.
Kagan says that cable operators lost nearly 2 million basic video subscribers to end the year with approximately 54.4 million subscribers.
During the fourth quarter, the industry added 40,000 pay TV subscriptions, a smaller gain than a year ago. Cable operators lost 388,000 subs in the quarter.
Satellite growth slowed, but DirecTV and Dish Network managed to add 170,000 subscribers between them during the year, with DirecTV accounting for the bulk of the additional.
The telcos added 286,000 customers to finish the year with 10.7 million subscribers.