TalkTalk_TV_player_2The loss of 25,000 TV customers over the past year has seen TalkTalk slip behind BT to become the smallest of the UK’s four pay-TV firms.

According to the broadband, mobile and fixed line provider’s latest market update, half of those losses were seen in the three months ending 31st March.

Like BT, TalkTalk’s TV service is based around the YouView platform which is able to carry a mix of free-to-air aerial and subscription internet-based channels within a single programme guide.

Both ISPs are partners in the YouView consortium and play a role in helping to develop new features and services.

Today’s news of a subscriber loss stands in stark contrast to previous management triumphalism about the service’s popularity.

Just two years ago TalkTalk boss Dido Harding boasted: “We continue to grow faster than all the other UK TV operators put together and are confident that in time, all our customers will take TV.”

Those high expectations looked set to be realised when the firm added 185,000 subscribers in the first few months of 2014, but by the time of the second quarter update growth had slowed to 115,000 gains and by the end of the year had fallen further to 82,000.

A year later and TalkTalk has seen a decline in the number of customers taking its TV offering, with the total user base now standing at 1.389m – significantly below the 1.5m recently reported by BT.

A series of price-cutting deals for premium content add-ons such as Sky Sports and Sky Movies has been interpreted by some commentators as a sign that TalkTalk’s value-focused customer base isn’t keen on paying for additional content.

However today TalkTalk claimed it had seen “growing purchases of transactional video as customers become more comfortable and knowledgeable with the range of content on offer, with on-demand usage growing 20% year on year.”