Pay TV Drops 1.9 Million Subs In Q1, Cable Sees Record Losses

The largest U.S. pay-TV providers lost a combined 1.895 million net video subscribers in this year’s first quarter, according to Leichtman Research Group.

That total was a slight improvement over Q1 2020’s net loss of 1.955 million.

Cable providers saw their highest quarterly losses to date, and vMVPDs’ losses accelerated, but traditional non-cable pay-TV providers (satellite and telco) narrowed their losses.

Over the past year, the tracked pay-TV providers, which represent about 95% of the market, lost a combined 4.79 million subscribers, compared to a loss of about 5.13 million in the prior year, reports Bruce Leichtman, the research firm’s president and principal analyst.

As of Q1, the providers had about 78.7 million combined subscribers. That includes the top seven cable companies’ 43.1 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services’ 28.9 million, and the top publicly reporting internet-delivered pay-TV services’ (vMVPDs) 6.7 million.



Cable providers experienced a net loss of about 775,000 video subscribers in the quarter, compared to a loss of about 595,000 in Q1 2020.

Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 865,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of 1.15 million in 1Q 2020.

Within that sector, AT&T Premium TV saw its losses slow to 620,000, versus 897,000 in 1Q 2020.

Top publicly reporting vMVPDs had a net loss of about 255,000 subscribers, versus about 210,000 in 1Q 2020.

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