Research: Major US pay-TV players slow sub losses

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Leichtman Research Group (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the US – representing about 95 per cent of the market – lost about 120,000 net video subscribers in Q3 2020, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 945,000 in Q2 2019.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 82.6 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 44.3 million video subscribers, satellite TV services having about 22.6 million subscribers, the top telephone companies having 8 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having 7.7 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Satellite TV services lost about 775,000 subscribers in Q3 2020 – compared to a loss of about 1,140,000 subscribers in Q3 2019
  • The top seven cable companies lost about 375,000 video subscribers in Q3 2020 – compared to a loss of about 410,000 subscribers in Q3 2019
  • The top telephone providers lost about 5,000 video subscribers in Q3 2020 – compared to a loss of about 210,000 subscribers in Q3 2019
  • The top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) services (Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV NOW, and fuboTV) added 1,035,000 subscribers in Q3 2020 – compared to about 815,000 net adds in Qw 2019

“With the return of live sports in Q3 2020, Internet-delivered vMVPDs had more net additions than in any previous quarter, and pay-TV overall had fewer net losses than in any quarter since Q1 2018,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “It is more important than ever before to recognise vMVPDs as a key segment of the live pay-TV industry.  Hulu + Live TV is now the fifth largest pay-TV service in the US, and YouTube TV (which is not part of LRG’s tracking data because it does not formally report quarterly results) now has over three million subscribers, including one million net additions thus far in 2020.”


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