An analysis conducted by the Associated Press (AP) reveals that nine of the ten largest U.S. multichannel video program distributors (MVPDs) accounted for a record loss of 195,000 subscribers during the second quarter of 2011. AP’s study of quarterly earnings reports covers all of the top ten MVPDs (except for privately-held Cox Communications) which together serve 83.2 million subscribers constituting 70% of U.S. cable television households. In addition to encompassing four of the five top U.S. cable firms, the study group also includes direct broadcast satellite operators DirecTV and DISH Network, Verizon FiOS, and AT&T’s U-Verse service. Although the U.S. MVPD industry posted its first small net loss in subscribership a year ago, AP described the latest figures as the first official quarterly loss for the group. When privately-held and smaller MVPDs are factored in, Sanford Bernstein analyst Craig Moffet estimated that total subscriber losses for the quarter are more likely to hover around 380,000, affecting one of every 300 U.S. households. Citing continuing weakness in the U.S. economy, AP attributed the losses to “persistently high unemployment and a housing market that has many people living with their parents, reducing the need for a separate cable bill.” While observers also pointed to an expected second quarter spike in cable cancellations among college students who return home for the summer, others cited the impact of cable “cord cutters” who favor free or low access to online programming. Although AP did not quantify the effects of web video access on MVPD subscribership losses, one analyst for SNL Kagan characterized the trend as the “elephant in the room.”