YouTube TV was the only U.S.-based pay-TV operator to show subscriber growth in Q1, which saw the sector’s largest-ever quarterly losses, according to the latest Leichtman Research Group analysis.
The largest providers, representing about 96% of the market, lost about 2.22 million net video subscribers in the quarter, versus a net loss of about 1.85 million in Q1 2022.
As with the substantial losses in previous quarters, Q1’s record losses “appear to be as much a function of a slowdown in new connects as an increase in disconnects,” noted president Bruce Leichtman, who uses companies’ reported numbers and estimates for the analyses.
YouTube TV, Google’s internet-delivered vMVPD (virtual multichannel video programming distributor), gained 100,000 subscribers, to reach 5.7 million total, putting it in fifth place among all pay-TV providers.
In March, Frontier Communications announced that it would make YouTube TV its primary video service offering, and this month another telco, WOW!, said it will stop selling traditional video services in favor of offering YouTube TV exclusively.
In total, the leading pay-TV providers now have 73.7 million video subscribers, including 36.8 million for the top seven cable companies, 23.4 million for satellite/telco companies, and about 13.5 million for the vMVPDs.
Cable provider Comcast was again the largest loser in its segment and across pay-TV as a whole, shedding 614,000 subscribers in the quarter. Among other cable operators, Charter lost 241,000, and Altice 60,500. All in all, the cable segment shed 1.06 million subscribers — up from 825,000 in Q1 2022.
Among other traditional providers, DirecTV dropped 350,000 subscribers, Dish TV lost 318,000, Verizon lost 76,000 and Frontier lost 18,000.
Among vMVPDs, Sling TV dropped 234,000 subscribers, Fubo lost 160,000, and Hulu + Live TV — YouTube’s closest competitor, with 4.4 million total subs — lost 100,000.