Report: U.S. Pay-TV Sub Loss Increased 18% in Q2

With the migration of pay-TV subscribers to alternative (i.e. streaming) home entertainment channels ongoing, the number of U.S. linear TV subscribers dropping service increased 18% to 1.57 million in the second quarter, ended June 30, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group.

The Durham, N.H.-based firm found that while the Q2 sub loss was almost 24% less than in the 2.06 million lost in Q1, it surpassed the 1.33 million shed in the second quarter of 2019.

The top pay-TV providers account for 82.4 million subs — with the top seven cable companies having 44.7 million video subs, satellite TV services 23.3 million subs, the top telephone companies 8 million subs, and the top publicly reporting online pay-TV services generating 6.4 million subs.

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Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Satellite TV services lost about 885,000 subs in 2Q 2020 — compared with a loss of about 860,000 subs in 2Q 2019;
  • The top seven cable companies lost about 500,000 video subs in 2Q 2020 — compared with a loss of about 455,000 subs in 2Q 2019;
  • The top telecom providers lost about 160,000 video subs in 2Q 2020 — compared with a loss of about 95,000 subs in 2Q 2019;
  • The top publicly reporting online TV services (Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV Now) lost about 25,000 subs in 2Q 2020 — compared to about 80,000 net adds in 2Q 2019;
  • Charter Communication’s Spectrum platform bucked the trend, adding about 100,000 pay-TV subs.


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“This quarter marked the sixth consecutive quarter with over 1 million pay-TV net losses; still these losses were about a half million fewer than in 1Q 2020,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “The pay-TV industry as a whole continues to rapidly lose subscribers.  However, the wide disparity in performance among top providers in the quarter demonstrates the significance of individual corporate strategies.”

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of 2Q 2020 Net Adds in 2Q 2020
Cable Companies
Comcast 20,367,000 (478,000)
Charter 16,168,000 94,000
Cox* 3,770,000 (50,000)
Altice 3,102,900 (34,600)
Mediacom 676,000 (17,000)
Atlantic Broadband** 311,845 (2,800)
Cable One 290,000 (13,000)
Total Top Cable 44,685,745 (501,400)
Satellite Services (DBS)
DIRECTV^ 14,290,000 (846,000)
DISH TV^^ 9,017,000 (40,000)
Total DBS 23,307,000 (886,000)
Phone Companies
Verizon FiOS 4,062,000 (83,000)
AT&T U-verse^ 3,400,000 (40,000)
Frontier*** 560,000 (34,000)
Total Top Phone 8,022,000 (157,000)
Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
Hulu + Live TV 3,400,000 100,000
Sling TV 2,255,000 (56,000)
AT&T TV NOW 720,000 (68,000)
Total Top vMVPD 6,375,000 (24,000)
Total Top Providers 82,389,745 (1,568,400)

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