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Study showing HBO, Showtime and Starz losing subscribers is dead wrong [updated]

HBO Showtime Starz Gain Subscribers

The NPD Group released a study this week that showed the steady decline of premium channel subscribers over the past two years. NPD Group analyst Russ Crupnick explained that many consumers are attempting to save money by replacing premium channels with streaming services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus, but according to an HBO spokesman, NPD’s “research is simply incorrect.”

“Both HBO and Cinemax services have shown significant domestic subscriber growth the past two years,” said the spokesman.

The LA Times has gathered statements from HBO, Showtime and Starz representatives, all of whom refute the study and claim that their subscriber base has continued to grow throughout 2013.

“Showtime and every other premium network have increased both subscribers and penetrations over the last two years,” a Showtime spokesperson said, also mentioning that Showtime has grown by over 1 million subscribers six out of the last seven years. A Starz spokesman stated that Starz has added 1.2 million subscribers since the beginning of 2013 as well.

NPD had not responded to the LA Times at the time of writing, but based on the results of the study, it looks like the firm has some explaining to do.

UPDATE: According to Broadband TV News, the NPD Group has retracted its original press release and issued the following statement in regards to its results:

“The data used for the press release pertains to aggregate results for all premium TV channels and does indicate that the overall number of subscribers has declined, based on a representative sample of the US population. However, upon further examination of the results, there is data supporting the conclusion that individual subscribers are either subscribing to more channels, or adding channels over time. In that case, faithful premium channel subscribers are becoming more so – which would be consistent with the subscription increases being reported by individual channels.”

Jacob Siegal is Associate Editor at BGR, having joined the news team in 2013. He has over a decade of professional writing and editing experience, and helps to lead our technology and entertainment product launch and movie release coverage.