Pay-TV Sub Losses Soared To 5.9M In 2022

The top 14 pay-TV providers lost 5.9 million, or nearly 8% of their combined subscribers, to end last year with 70.2 million, according to Leichtman Research Group’s year-end report.

The losses are up by 5% from 2021’s 4.69 million, although that was a slight improvement over 2020’s 4.9 million losses. The providers ended 2021 with a combined 76.07 million. Last year's total was down nearly 27% from 2012's 95.5 million.

The nation’s largest pay-TV operator, Comcast, lost 2.034 million, or 11.2%, of its linear video subscribers in 2022, to end the year with a total of 16.14 million.  

No. 2 Charter lost 686,000, but with 15.15 million at year-end 2022, is still closing the gap with Comcast. The two are now separated by about 995,000 subscribers, compared to Comcast’s advantage of 2.34 million at the end of 2021.

The sole gains among all pay-TV operators last year were by internet-delivered virtual multiplatform programming distributors (vMVPDs).

Leader Hulu + Live TV gained 300,000, to reach 4.3 million. FuboTV saw the largest increase — up 582,000, to 1.13 million. Sling TV gained 12,000, for a total of 2.49 million. (Google does not release subscriber counts for YouTube TV, and LRG does not include estimates for this platform in its reports.)

However, vMVPDs still collectively gained just 370,000 subscribers, down from a gain of 885,000 in 2021.

The top seven cable companies accounted for 37.8 million of the total 70.2 million video subscribers at year-end 2022, other traditional pay-TV services accounted for 24.1 million, and vMVPDs accounted for 8.3 million.

Collectively, top cable providers saw a net loss of 2.7 million subscribers last year — up from a loss of 1.94 in 2021.

Other traditional pay-TV services lost 2.7 million – down slightly from 2021’s 2.89 million loss.

In that category, DirecTV lost an estimated 1.5 million, for a total of 13.1 million; Dish TV lost 805,000, for a total of 7.42 million; Verizon Fios lost 343,000 for a total of 3.3 million; and Frontier lost 74,000, to end the year at 306,000.

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