U.S. Q1 pay-TV subscriber losses higher than in any previous quarter

Tuesday, May 16th, 2023 
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Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 2,215,000 Subscribers in 1Q 2023

  • Pay-TV Net Losses Were Higher Than in any Previous Quarter

DURHAM, NH — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 96% of the market – lost about 2,215,000 net video subscribers in 1Q 2023, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 1,850,000 in 1Q 2022.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 73.7 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having about 36.8 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services having 23.4 million subscribers, and the top Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services (now including an estimate for YouTube TV) having about 13.5 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Top cable providers had a net loss of about 1,060,000 video subscribers in 1Q 2023 – compared to a loss of about 825,000 subscribers in 1Q 2022
  • Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 760,000 subscribers in 1Q 2023 – compared to a loss of about 625,000 subscribers in 1Q 2022
  • Top vMVPDs had a net loss of about 395,000 subscribers in 1Q 2023 – compared to a loss of about 400,000 subscribers in 1Q 2022

“Pay-TV net losses of about 2.2 million in 1Q 2023 were more than in any previous quarter,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “Similar to recent quarters, the record net losses appear to be as much a function of a slowdown in new connects as an increase in disconnects.”

                                 Subscribers at     Net Adds
Pay-TV Providers                 End of 1Q 2023   in 1Q 2023
-------------------------------  --------------  -----------
Cable Companies
 Comcast                             15,528,000    (614,000)
 Charter                             14,906,000    (241,000)
 Altice**                             2,475,800     (60,500)
 Breezeline                             300,684      (8,943)
 Cable One                              167,000     (14,500)
 Other major private companies^       3,440,000    (120,000)
Total Top Cable                      36,817,484  (1,058,943)

Other Traditional Services
 DIRECTV^                            12,750,000    (350,000)
 DISH TV (DBS)                        7,098,000    (318,000)
 Verizon Fios (Telco)                 3,225,000     (76,000)
 Frontier (Telco)*                      288,000     (18,000)
Total Top Other Traditional          23,361,000    (762,000)

Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
 YouTube TV*                          5,700,000      100,000
 Hulu + Live TV                       4,400,000    (100,000)
 Sling TV                             2,100,000    (234,000)
 Fubo                                 1,285,000    (160,000)
Total Top vMVPD                      13,485,000    (394,000)
                                 --------------  -----------
Total Top Providers                  73,663,484  (2,214,943)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
* LRG estimate
** Altice now includes non-residential subscribers
^ Includes LRG estimates for Cox and Mediacom
^^ LRG estimate, includes DIRECTV, U-verse, and DIRECTV Stream
Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households
Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 96% 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