YouTube TV Drives vMVPDs To 20% Share Of Pay-TV Subscribers

Driven by an estimated year-over-year subscriber gain of 600,000 for YouTube TV, virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) achieved an unprecedented 20% share of pay-TV subscribers in this year’s third quarter.

That’s according to the latest Leichtman Research Group pay-TV report, which covers the 14 largest providers, representing about 96% of the market.

Leichtman’s estimate of 6.5 million total YouTube TV subscribers as of Q3 puts that vMVPD within striking distance of fourth-largest pay-TV provider Dish TV, with a total of 6.72 million after a net loss of 181,000. (Antenna recently published a significantly higher 7.3 million estimate of YouTube TV’s subscribers.)

Subscriber gains were also logged by Fubo (up by 310,000), Hulu + Live TV (300,000) and Sling TV (117,000).

That brought vMVPDs’ combined Q3 net additions to 1.327 million (versus 1.3 million in Q3 2022) and their total subscribers to 14.697 million — representing 20.6% of an estimated 71.469 total subscribers across all 14 pay-TV providers.



The vMVPD gains helped offset traditional cable, satellite and telco video providers’ continuing losses. Still, overall subscriber losses in the non-streaming video marketplace totaled about 465,000 — up from 385,000 lost in Q3 2022.

However, “similar to recent years, pay-TV net losses in the third quarter were more modest than in the first two quarters of the year due to the strength of sports on Internet-delivered vMVPD services,” noted Bruce Leichtman, LRG’s president and principal analyst.

All of the top cable providers saw losses, for a combined net loss of about 1.014 million — up from 985,000 lost in Q3 2022.

Comcast once again led the cable losses (down 490,000), followed by Charter (down 327,000) and Altice (down 79,400).

The two satellite and two telco providers classified as other traditional services also lost subscribers, sustaining 779,000 in combined net losses, compared to 700,000 lost in Q3 2022.

Notably, in addition to Dish TV’s loss, DirecTV — which, like YouTube TV, does not report subscriber numbers — lost an LRG-estimated 500,000 subscribers in Q3, for a total of 11.85 million.

Telcos Verizon Fios and Frontier lost 79,000 and 19,000, respectively.

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