Subscribers at major U.S. pay TV providers down 1.57 million in 2Q 2020

Wednesday, August 12th, 2020 
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Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 1,570,000 Subscribers in 2Q 2020

  • Pay-TV Net Losses Were Half a Million Fewer Than in 1Q 2020

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 95% of the market – lost about 1,570,000 net video subscribers in 2Q 2020, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 2,065,000 in 1Q 2020, and 1,330,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019.

The top pay-TV providers account for 82.4 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 44.7 million video subscribers, satellite TV services 23.3 million subscribers, the top telephone companies 8.0 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services 6.4 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Satellite TV services lost about 885,000 subscribers in 2Q 2020 – compared to a loss of about 860,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019
  • The top seven cable companies lost about 500,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2020 – compared to a loss of about 455,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019
  • The top telephone providers lost about 160,000 video subscribers in 2Q 2020 – compared to a loss of about 95,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019
  • The top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services (Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV NOW) lost about 25,000 subscribers in 2Q 2020 – compared to about 80,000 net adds in 2Q 2019

“This quarter marked the sixth consecutive quarter with over one million pay-TV net losses; still these losses were about a half million fewer than in 1Q 2020,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “The pay-TV industry as a whole continues to rapidly lose subscribers. However, the wide disparity in performance among top providers in the quarter demonstrates the significance of individual corporate strategies.”

                     Subscribers at     Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers     End of 2Q 2020   in 2Q 2020
----------------     --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                 20,367,000    (478,000)
 Charter                 16,168,000       94,000
 Cox*                     3,770,000     (50,000)
 Altice                   3,102,900     (34,600)
 Mediacom                   676,000     (17,000)
 Atlantic Broadband**       311,845      (2,800)
 Cable One                  290,000     (13,000)
Total Top Cable          44,685,745    (501,400)

Satellite Services (DBS)
 DIRECTV^                14,290,000    (846,000)
 DISH TV^^                9,017,000     (40,000)
Total DBS                23,307,000    (886,000)

Phone Companies
 Verizon FiOS             4,062,000     (83,000)
 AT&T U-verse^            3,400,000     (40,000)
 Frontier***                560,000     (34,000)
Total Top Phone           8,022,000    (157,000)

Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
 Hulu + Live TV           3,400,000      100,000
 Sling TV                 2,255,000     (56,000)
 AT&T TV NOW                720,000     (68,000)
Total Top vMVPD           6,375,000     (24,000)
----------------     --------------  -----------
Total Top Providers      82,389,745  (1,568,400)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* LRG estimate
** Includes LRG estimate of pro forma net adds from recent acquisition
^ AT&T combines non-vMVPDs as “Premium TV” – separate results are LRG estimates with AT&T TV included with U-verse
^^ DISH TV removed 250,000 subs representing commercial accounts impacted by COVID-19 in 1Q 2020. In 2Q 2020, 45,000 resumed normal service. DISH includes these subs in the total, but excludes them from net add/loss calculations.
*** Frontier includes the sale of Northwest Operations in 2Q 2020
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 95% of all subscribers
vMVPD does not include YouTube TV or others that do not regularly report quarterly subscriber totals
Top cable companies do not include overbuilder WOW with 351,700 subscribers

Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions, reporting adjustments, and the addition of new providers to the list – therefore, comparing totals in this release to prior releases will not produce accurate findings

Links: Leichtman Research