August 18, 2021
As pay-TV operators continue to hemorrhage video subscribers to over-the-top video, losses are being offset by broadband service additions — a requisite for streaming video distribution.
New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. — representing about 95% of the market — lost more than 1.2 million net video subs in 2Q 2021, compared with a net loss of about 1.5 million subs in the previous-year period.
Pay-TV operators added 890,000 net broadband internet subscribers in the quarter; 8 million net adds over the past two years.
The top pay-TV providers account for about 77.6 million subs — with the top seven cable companies having 42.6 million video subs, other traditional pay-TV services having about 28.2 million subs, and the top publicly reporting online TV services having about 6.8 million subs.
Leichtman found that the top cable providers had a net loss of about 590,000 video subs in 2Q 2021 — compared to a loss of about 505,000 subs in 2Q 2020. Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 700,000 subs in 2Q 2021 — compared with a loss of about 1,045,000 subs in 2Q 2020.
AT&T led all pay-TV services with 473,000 net sub loss, an improvement compared with 887,000 net losses in 2Q 2020. Online TV services, led by Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu + Live TV, added 55,000 subs, compared to a gain of about 45,000 subs last year.
“Pay-TV net losses were about 275,000 fewer than [last year] on a pro forma basis,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Over the past year, pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 4.52 million subs, compared to a loss of about 5.4over the prior year.”
Separately, Leichtman said the quarterly broadband additions were the most in any second quarter in the past decade, except for 2Q 2020.
“Pay-TV operators have added about 3.67 million net broadband adds over the prior year,” he said.