U.S. Pay-TV Operators Cut Q3 Sub Loss by 50%

The bleeding continues for pay-TV operators in the U.S. — but at a reduced rate. New data from informitv contends the top 10 domestic pay-TV operators lost a combined 860,000 subscribers in the third-quarter (ended Sept. 30). The sector lost 1.67 million subs during the previous-year period.

Through nine months of the fiscal year, pay-TV operators have lost a combined 4.72 million subscribers, leaving the market at around 72.28 million subs. That’s an 8.2% drop from last year when the market had 78.73 million subs.

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“The rate of television subscriber decline in the United States has reduced since the first quarter of 2020, when the top 10 services had combined losses of 2.33 million,” observed Dr. William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “There is still a secular decline in this mature market, but it is important to remember that six out of ten television homes in the United States still subscribe to one of these services.”

Excluding Cox Communications, which does not report subscriber data, Comcast Cable lost 253,000 subs, compared with a loss of 427,000 the previous-year quarter. AT&T jettisoned 627,000 subs across its satellite (DirecTV), telco and online television (AT&T TV) platforms, compared with a loss of 952,000 last year.

Charter added 53,000 subs — about half of the 102,000 sub additions in the previous quarter. Dish Network lost 57,000 subs, while adding 203,000 Sling TV subs. Verizon lost 61,000 Fios TV subs. Altice USA lost 67,800 subs, while Mediacom and Frontier lost 13,000 and 42,000 subs, respectively.


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