Major U.S. pay TV providers lost around 650,000 subscribers in 3Q 2021

Thursday, November 18th, 2021 
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Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 650,000 Subscribers in 3Q 2021

  • Annual Net Losses Similar to Last Year

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 93% of the market – lost about 650,000 net video subscribers in 3Q 2021, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 90,000 in 3Q 2020.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 77 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 41.9 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services having over 27.5 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having 7.5 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Top cable providers had a net loss of about 700,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2021 – compared to a loss of about 380,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020
  • Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 635,000 subscribers in 3Q 2021 – compared to a loss of about 780,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020
  • Top publicly reporting vMVPDs added about 680,000 subscribers in 3Q 2021 – compared to a gain of about 1,070,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020

“While Pay-TV net losses in the quarter increased from last year’s third quarter, annual net losses were relatively similar to a year ago,” 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 5,100,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 4,820,000 over the prior year.”

                             Subscribers at     Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers             End of 3Q 2021   in 3Q 2021
---------------------------  --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                        18,549,000     (407,000)
 Charter                        15,891,000     (121,000)
 Cox*                            3,460,000      (70,000)
 Altice                          2,803,000      (67,500)
 Mediacom                          590,000      (21,000)
 Atlantic Broadband**              360,000       (6,000)
 Cable One                         279,000       (8,000)
Total Top Cable                 41,932,000     (700,500)

Other Traditional Services
 DIRECTV^                       15,000,000     (412,000)
 DISH TV (DBS)                   8,424,000     (130,000)
 Verizon FiOS (Telco)            3,714,000      (68,000)
 Frontier (Telco)*                 400,000      (23,000)
Total Top Other Traditional     27,538,000     (633,000)

Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
 Hulu + Live TV                  4,000,000       300,000
 Sling TV                        2,556,000       117,000
 fuboTV                            944,605       262,884
Total Top vMVPD^^                7,500,605       679,884

Total Top Providers             76,970,605     (653,616)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* LRG estimate
** Includes recent acquisition from WOW, and LRG pro forma estimate of net adds
^ LRG estimate. Formerly AT&T Premium TV, includes DIRECTV, U-verse, and DIRECTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV).
^^ vMVPD does not include YouTube TV or Philo, as neither regularly report results
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 93% of all 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.

Links: Leichtman Research