Major Pay-TV Providers Stanch Q3 Sub Bleeding

Ongoing pay-TV subscriber defections cooled a bit in the third quarter, ended Sept. 30, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group. The firm found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. — representing about 95% of the market — lost about 120,000 net video subscribers in 3Q, compared with a pro forma net loss of about 945,000 in the previous-year period.

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 subs; telephone companies having 8 million subs, and Internet-delivered pay-TV services having 7.7 million subs.

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Satellite TV services lost about 775,000 in 3Q — compared with about 1.14 million subs in 3Q 2019. The top seven cable companies lost about 375,000 video subs, compared with about 410,000 subs a year ago. Telephone providers lost about 5,000 video subs, compared with about 210,000 subs in 3Q 2019. Online TV services, which include Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV Now and fuboTV, added 1.03 million subs, compared with about 815,000 net adds a year ago.

“With the return of live sports in 3Q 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 1Q 2018,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement.

Leichtman said Hulu + Live TV is now the fifth largest pay-TV service in the U.S., and YouTube TV now has over three million subs, including 1 million net additions thus far in 2020.

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of 3Q 2020 Net Adds in 3Q 2020
Cable Companies
Comcast 20.09 million (273,000)
Charter 16.23 million 67,000
Cox 3.71 million (60,000)
Altice 3.03 million (86,400)
Mediacom 663,000 (13,000)
Atlantic Broadband 317,387 5,542
Cable One 277,000 (13,000)
Total Top Cable 44.33 million (372,858)
Satellite Services (DBS)
DirecTV 13.6 million (690,000)
Dish TV 8.96 million (87,000)
Total DBS 22.56 million (777,000)
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 4 million (62,000)
AT&T U-verse/AT&T TV 3.5 million 100,000
Frontier 518,000 (42,000)
Total Top Phone 8.01 million (4,000)
Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
Hulu + Live TV 4.1 million 700,000
Sling TV 2.45 million 203,000
AT&T TV Now 683,000 (37,000)
fuboTV 455,000 169,000
Total Top Online TV 7.69 million 1.03 million
Total Top Providers 82.61 million (118,858)

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