Major U.S. pay TV providers lost 1,895,000 subscribers in 1Q 2021

Wednesday, May 19th, 2021
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Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 1,895,000 Subscribers in 1Q 2021

  • Pay-TV Net Losses Were Similar to a Year Ago

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 1,895,000 net video subscribers in 1Q 2021, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 1,955,000 in 1Q 2020.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 78.7 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 43.1 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services having about 28.9 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having about 6.7 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Top cable providers had a net loss of about 775,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2021 – compared to a loss of about 595,000 subscribers in 1Q 2020
  • Net cable losses in 1Q 2021 were more than in any previous quarter
  • Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 865,000 subscribers in 1Q 2021 – compared to a loss of 1,150,000 subscribers in 1Q 2020
  • AT&T Premium TV had 620,000 net losses in 1Q 2021 – compared to 897,000 net losses in 1Q 2020
  • Top publicly reporting vMVPDs had a net loss of about 255,000 subscribers in 1Q 2021 – compared to a loss of about 210,000 subscribers in 1Q 2020

“Pay-TV net losses of about 1.9 million in 1Q 2021 were similar to the net losses in 1Q 2020,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “Over the past year, top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 4,790,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 5,125,000 over the prior year.”

                         Subscribers at     Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers         End of 1Q 2021   in 1Q 2021
-----------------------  --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                     19,355,000    (491,000)
 Charter                     16,062,000    (138,000)
 Cox*                         3,590,000     (60,000)
 Altice                       2,906,600     (54,400)
 Mediacom                       626,000     (17,000)
 Atlantic Broadband             313,591      (4,796)
 Cable One                      252,000      (9,000)
Total Top Cable              43,105,191    (774,196)

Other Traditional Services
 AT&T Premium TV**           15,885,000    (620,000)
 DISH TV (DBS)                8,686,000    (130,000)
 Verizon FiOS (Telco)         3,845,000     (82,000)
 Frontier (Telco)               453,000     (32,000)
Total Top Other Traditional  28,869,000    (864,000)

Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
 Hulu + Live TV               3,800,000    (200,000)
 Sling TV                     2,374,000    (100,000)
 fuboTV                         590,430       42,550
Total Top vMVPD^              6,764,430    (257,450)

Total Top Providers          78,738,621  (1,895,646)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* LRG estimate
** AT&T Premium TV includes DIRECTV, U-verse, and AT&T TV (while AT&T includes AT&T TV in this group it is similar to a vMVPD)
^ vMVPD does not include YouTube TV or Philo, as neither regularly report results. AT&T TV NOW was removed from the list, because AT&T no longer reports results for the service.
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 95% of all subscribers
Top cable companies do not include overbuilder WOW with 290,900 subscribers

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