U.S. pay TV providers lost 1.9M subs in Q1: Leichtman

cord cutting
Over the past year, top pay TV providers had a net loss of about 4,790,000 subscribers. (Alyssa & Colin/Flickr)

The top U.S. pay TV providers—representing about 95% of the total market—lost 1.895 million net video subscribers in the first quarter, according to Leichtman Research Group.

The top providers now account for about 78.7 million subscribers—43.1 million for the the top seven cable companies, 28.9 million for the top telco and satellite providers and about 6.7 million subscribers for the top vMVPDs, which only includes Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV and fuboTV in Leichman’s report.

Based on reporting and some estimates, Leichtman’s quarterly report suggests that fuboTV was the only major pay TV service to add subscribers during the quarter.

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said that over the past year, top pay TV providers had a net loss of about 4,790,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 5,125,000 over the prior year.

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According to the firm’s report, the top cable providers had a net loss of about 775,000 video subscribers in the first quarter, compared to a loss of about 595,000 subscribers in the same quarter of 2020. That includes nearly a net loss of nearly 500,000 for Comcast and an estimated net loss of 60,000 for Cox.

Overall, Leichtman estimated that net cable losses during the first quarter were more than in any previous quarter.

Other traditional pay TV services—including Verizon Fios, Frontier, Dish TV and AT&T, which includes DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV—had a net loss of about 865,000 subscribers in the first quarter. That’s substantially lower than the 1,150,000 subscribers those services lost during the same quarter in 2020.

The top publicly reporting vMVPDs had a net loss of about 255,000 subscribers, according to Leichtman. But that list does not include YouTube TV, Philo or AT&T TV Now, which has been absorbed into AT&T’s premium video subscriber total.