1.53 Million Homes Added Broadband in Q3 — The Most in 11 Years

As pay-TV operators continue to hemorrhage video subscribers to cord-cutting and over-the-top alternatives, a silver lining has emerged: high-speed Internet. Linear TV providers have become broadband gatekeepers enabling households to access the World Wide Web while offering a fiscal lifeline to an industry in flux.

New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest cable and wireline phone providers in the U.S. — representing about 96% of the market — acquired about 1.53 million net additional broadband Internet subscribers in 3Q 2020, compared with a pro forma gain of about 615,000 subs in 3Q 2019.

These top broadband providers now account for about 104.9 million subscribers, with top cable companies having about 72 million broadband subs, and top wireline phone companies having about 32.9 million subs.

Findings for the quarter include:

  • Overall, broadband additions in 3Q 2020 were about 915,000 more than in 3Q 2019.
  • Broadband additions in 3Q 2020 were the most in any quarter since 1Q 2009.
  • The top cable companies added about 1,320,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020 — compared with a net gain of about 830,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019.
  • Cable broadband had over one million net adds for the third consecutive quarter — the first time since 3Q 2006 to 1Q 2007.
  • Comcast’s 633,000 net adds in 3Q 2020 were more than in any quarter in the past 15 years.
  • The top wireline phone companies added about 210,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020 – compared to a net loss of about 220,000 subscribers in 3Q 2019

 

“With the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in 3Q 2020 than in any quarter in over eleven years,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Over the past year, there were about 4.55 million net broadband adds, compared with about 2.55 million net broadband adds over the prior year. This marks the most broadband net adds in a year since 3Q 2008 to 2Q 2009.”

Broadband Providers Subscribers at end of 3Q 2020 Net Adds in 3Q 2020
Cable Companies
Comcast 30.06 million 633,000
Charter 28.63 million 537,000
Cox 5.33 million 50,000
Altice 4.36 million 26,000
Mediacom 1.42 million 29,000
Cable One 865,000 27,000
WOW (WideOpenWest) 808,900 3,300
Atlantic Broadband 492,212 13,523
Total Top Cable 71.97 million 1.31 million
Wireline Phone Companies
AT&T 15.37 million 174,000
Verizon 7.06 million 110,000
CenturyLink/Lumen^ 4.56 million (75,000)
Frontier 3.11 million (23,000)
Windstream 1.10 million 12,900
Consolidated 792,211 1,008
TDS 487,700 8,200
Cincinnati Bell 434,500 2,500
Total Top Telco 32.94 million 210,608
Total Top Broadband 104.92 million 1.53 million

 

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)

Report: 60% of U.S. Households Have Pay-TV and SVOD Service

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group finds that 60% of U.S. TV households have both a pay-TV service and at least one SVOD service. In addition, 20% of TV households have an SVOD service, but not pay-TV, 14% only have a pay-TV service, and 6% have neither pay-TV nor SVOD.

Among traditional (cable, satellite or telecom) pay-TV subscribers, 79% have an SVOD service, and 96% of those getting live pay-TV from an online TV service also have SVOD. Comparatively, 76% of pay-TV non-subscribers have an SVOD service.

These findings are based on a telephone survey of about 2,000 households from throughout the United States, and are part of a new LRG study, Pay-TV in the U.S. 2020. This is LRG’s 18th annual study on this topic.

“Traditional pay-TV services from cable, satellite, and telco providers are now in less than two-thirds of U.S households, while an increasing number of households are opting to get live pay-TV from [the Internet],” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Consumers continue to choose the video services that best fit their households’ needs.”

Other survey findings include:

  • 74% of TV households in the U.S. get a live pay-TV service (via a cable, DBS, telco, or online TV) — compared with 85% in 2015, 88% in 2010, and 82% in 2005;
  • 81% of adults ages 55+ have a pay-TV service — compared with 76% of ages 35-54, and 63% of ages 18-34;
  • 27% with both pay-TV and SVOD are ages 18-34 — compared with 46% with SVOD-only;
  • 38% of those that moved in the past year do not currently get a pay-TV service — a higher level than in any previous year;
  • 33% of pay-TV non-subscribers last had a pay-TV service within the past 3 years, 34% last subscribed more than three years ago, and 33% never had a live pay-TV service;
  • 13% of all TV households are pay-TV non-subscribers with a TV antenna.

 

Study: Nearly 80% of U.S. Households Subscribe to Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu

More than three-quarters (78%) of all U.S. households have a subscription-video-on-demand service from Netflix, Amazon Prime and/or Hulu, according to new consumer research from Leichtman Research Group.

That’s up from 69% in 2018, and 52% in 2015.

More than half (55%) of U.S. households now have more than one of these SVOD services, an increase from 43% in 2018 and 20% in 2015, according to Leichtman.

Usage of these SVOD services has also significantly increased in recent years, according to the study. Daily, 40% of all adults stream an SVOD service — up from 30% in 2018 and 16% in 2015. Younger adults are the most active streamers, with ages 18-44 accounting for 63% of daily SVOD users.

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The findings are based on a survey of about 1,990 households nationwide and are part of a new LRG study, Emerging Video Services 2020.

Other findings include:

  • 55% of those ages 18-44 stream an SVOD service daily — compared to 27% of ages 45+;
  • 30% with Netflix agree that their subscription is shared with others outside their household — compared to 23% with Hulu and 20% with Amazon Prime;
  • including 12 additional streaming video services, 82% of all households have at least one SVOD or DTC service and 49% have three or more services;
  • 55% of adults watch video on non-TV devices (including mobile phones, home computers, tablets, and eReaders) daily — up from 46% in 2018 and 33% in 2015; and
  • 44% of adults watch video on a mobile phone daily — up from 35% in 2018, and 20% in 2015.

“Nearly four-fifths of U.S. households now have a top SVOD service, and 40% of all adults stream an SVOD service daily, including over half of all ages 18-44,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman, in a statement. “The adoption and use of these established SVOD services along with newer direct-to-consumer streaming video options have increased over the past year, spurred more recently by the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

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Broadband Added 1.25 Million U.S. Households in Q2; Largest Gain in Eight Years

If there’s a silver lining for pay-TV distributors hemorrhaging video subscribers, it’s high-speed Internet. Linear TV subs dropping service are doing so for alternative home entertainment channels delivered over the Web. To get that distribution requires broadband, which most pay-TV operators deliver.

New data from Leichtman Research Group found that the largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. — representing about 96% of the market — acquired about 1.24 million net additional broadband Internet subscribers in the second quarter, ended June 30, which was up 233% from a gain of about 375,000 subs in the previous-year period.

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These top broadband providers now account for about 103.3 million subs, with top cable companies having 70.6 million broadband subs, and top wireline phone companies having 32.7 million subs.

Findings for the quarter include:

  • Overall, broadband additions in 2Q 2020 were about 870,000 more than in 2Q 2019;
  •  Broadband additions overall were the most in any quarter since 1Q 2012;
  • The top cable companies added about 1,400,000 subscribers in 2Q 2020 — compared to a net gain of about 530,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019;
  • Cable broadband net additions were the most in any quarter since 1Q 2007;
  • Charter’s 850,000 net adds in 2Q 2020 were more than for any provider in any previous quarter;
  • The top wireline phone companies had a net loss of about 155,000 subscribers in 2Q 2020 — compared to a net loss of about 160,000 subscribers in 2Q 2019.

 

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“With the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in 2Q, than in any quarter in eight years,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “In the first half of 2020, there were over 2.4 million net broadband additions. This is the most net adds in the first half of any year since 2008.”

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)

Research: 80% of U.S. TV Households Have at Least One Connected TV Device

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group finds that 80% of U.S. TV households have at least one Internet-connected TV device, including connected Smart TVs, standalone streaming devices (such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV stick or set-top box, Chromecast, or Apple TV), connected video game systems, and/or connected Blu-ray Disc players. This is an increase from 74% with at least one connected TV device in 2018, 57% in 2015, and 24% in 2010.

Overall, 40% of adults in U.S. TV households watch video on a TV via a connected device daily — compared with 29% in 2018, 12% in 2015, and 1% in 2010. Older individuals use connected TV devices less often than others. Among all adults ages 55+, 18% watch video on a TV via a connected device daily — compared with 48% of ages 35-54 and 55% of ages 18-34.

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These findings are based on a survey of about 2,000 TV households in the U.S. This is LRG’s 17th annual study on TVs in the U.S.

Other findings include: Among those with any connected TV device, 64% have three or more devices — with a mean of 4.1 devices per connected TV household.

About 58% of TV households have at least one connected Smart TV — up from 47% in 2018, 22% in 2015, and 8% in 2010. Another 56% of TV households have at least one standalone streaming device — up from 46% in 2018, 23% in 2015, and 3% in 2011.

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On a daily basis, 25% of adults watch video on a TV via a standalone device, 20% via an Internet-enabled Smart TV app, 11% via a connected game system, and 3% via a connected Blu-ray player.

About 62% of 4K HDTV owners agree that the picture quality makes everything look better, even when not watching 4K content, while 6% disagree.

“The data in this study indicate that there are now nearly 400 million connected TV devices in U.S. TV households,” Bruce Leichtman, principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement. “This is an increase from about 250 million connected TV devices in 2016.” Leichtman said the data does not include pay-TV set-top boxes that can access the Internet.

“Along with this increase in the number of devices, the percent of adults in the U.S. using these connected devices to watch video on a TV each day has more than doubled — growing from 19% to 40% — in just the past four years,” he said.

Over Half of Adults Report Watching More TV Since the Pandemic

New consumer research from Leichtman Research Group finds that since the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, 53% of adults ages 18 and above in U.S. TV households say they now spend more time watching TV per day, while 16% say they watch less.

There are no significant differences by age, income, or gender of those agreeing that they watch more TV per day, nor is there a significant difference between SVOD and non-SVOD households. However, 56% of pay-TV subs say they now spend more time watching TV per day, compared to 45% of non-subscribers.

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This data is based on an online survey of about 1,200 TV households in the U.S. conducted in May.

Other survey findings include that 62% of pay-TV premium subs, 62% of pay-TV DVR subs, and 59% of pay-TV on-demand users say they spend more time watching TV per day. Another 43% of connected TV users say they use connected TV devices more often, while 20% say they use connected devices less often.

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The study found that 52% of connected TV users with annual household incomes above $75,000 say they use connected TV devices more often, compared with 42% with household incomes of $30,000 to $75,000, and 28% with household incomes under $30,000.

Another 45% of connected TV users ages 18-54 say they use connected TV devices more often, compared with 31% of ages 55 and older. Still 39% say they are more satisfied with their streaming video services, while 18% say they aren’t more satisfied. Indeed, 33% say they  are more satisfied with their pay-TV service, while 16% say they aren’t; 36% say they are more satisfied with their home Internet service, while 19% disagree.

“Reported increases in TV viewing since the coronavirus pandemic began are consistent across demographic categories, while perceived increases in connected TV usage are more prevalent in higher income households and among younger adults,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Usage growth has played a role in boosting consumers’ positive perceptions of their streaming video, pay-TV and broadband services.”

Pay-TV Lost Record 2 Million Subs in Q1

Another financial quarter, another 90 days of pain for the pay-TV market. The largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. — representing about 95% of the market — lost more than 2 million video subscribers in the quarter ended March 31, compared with a net loss of about 1 million subs in the same period last year, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group.

The top pay-TV providers account for 83.9 million subs — with the top seven cable companies having 45.2 million video subs, satellite TV services 24.1 million subs, the telephone companies 8.2 million subs, and Internet-delivered pay-TV services with 6.4 million subs.

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Satellite TV services lost about 1 million subs compared to a loss of about 810,000 subs last year. The top seven cable companies lost about 595,000 video subs compared 335,000 subs.

The top telecoms lost about 125,000 video subs compared to a loss of about 105,000 subs in Q1 2019. The top online TV services (Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and AT&T TV Now) lost about 320,000 subs compared to about 225,000 net adds in 1Q 2019

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“The record net losses were partly related to the impact of the coronavirus, but do not solely reflect consumers’ dropping services,” analyst Bruce Leichtman said in a statement. “Several providers cited a decrease in connects as a key component of net losses in the quarter, rather than an increase in disconnects.”

Pay-TV’s Silver Linings Playbook: Broadband

With pay-TV distributors continuing to hemorrhage subscribers by the boatload, the growing void is being supplanted by a burgeoning new market: high-speed Internet — a prerequisite to over-the-top video consumption.

The largest cable and telephone providers in the U.S. — representing about 96% of the market — added more than 1.16 million broadband Internet subscribers in the first quarter, ended March 31. That’s up from a gain of about 955,000 subs in previous-year period, according to new data from Leichtman Research Group.

Broadband additions in the quarter were 122% of those in Q1 2019 — the most in any quarter since Q1 2015. Broadband providers now account for about 102.4 million subscribers, with cable distributors accounting for 69.2 million broadband subs, followed by telecoms with 33.2 million subs.

Over the past year, there were about 2.75 million broadband additions — compared with about 2.63 million net broadband adds over the prior year

The top cable companies added about 1.23 million broadband subs in the quarter — 132% of the net adds for the top cable companies in Q1 2019. Cable broadband net additions were the most in any quarter since Q1 2007.

Telecom companies had a net loss of about 65,000 broadband subs in the quarter, compared with a net gain of about 20,000 subs in Q1 2019.

“With the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, there were more quarterly net broadband additions in Q1 than in any quarter in five years,” Bruce Leichtman, principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said in a statement. “Top cable companies performed particularly well, having the most net additions for cable broadband services in any quarter in 13 years.”