Cord-Cutting Continues: 1.2 Million More Lost Pay-TV Subscriptions

Cord-Cutting Continues: 1.2 Million More Lost Pay-TV Subscriptions

The quarter two results are in and they aren't looking good for Pay-TV.

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG)’s quarterly report about cord-cutting has been released, and the firm found that the top pay-TV providers lost 1,230,000 net video subscribers in the second quarter of 2021. 

That’s down from 1,505,000 subscribers lost in the second quarter of 2020, which was the height of the pandemic. 

The total number of subscribers of the firms included in the report—which represent five percent of the overall market—is now 77.6 million. Of those, 42.6 million are of cable companies, the “other” category (satellite and telecommunications) has 28.2 million subscribers, and the vMVPD category has 6.8 million subscribers.

Cable companies lost 590,000 video subscribers and the “other” category lost 700,000. The vMVPD category was the one gainer, adding 55,000 subscribers. 

“Pay-TV net losses of 1,230,000 in 2Q 2021 were about 275,000 fewer than in 2Q 2020 on a pro forma basis,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc., said in the release of the numbers.  “Over the past year, top Pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 4,520,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 5,460,000 over the prior year.”

Of the cable companies, every cable company listed lost subscribers in the quarter. Comcast lost nearly 400,000, while Charter lost 50,000, Cox lost 60,000, and Altice lost 48,300. 

In the “other” category, there were also losses for everyone. AT&T Premium, in the quarter before its spinoff, lost 473,000, while Dish lost 132,000 and Verizon Fios lost 63,000. 

In the vMVPD category, Hulu + Live TV lost 100,000 subscribers, following the service’s price hike, although Sling TV and Fubo TV both posted gains, of 65,000 and 91,000, respectively. Google did not release subscriber figures for YouTube TV, nor did Philo TV for its service. 

The numbers were based on publicly released figures by the companies from when they released their quarterly earnings. 

Leichtman's was one of two major cord-cutting reports issued on Tuesday. According to Variety, the pay-TV audience has lost a full twenty-five percent of its subscribers since 2016. 

“The line has been crossed. While the inexorable decline of U.S. Pay-TV has continued every quarter since 2016, the most recent results—as of June 30, 2021—mark a watershed moment: MVPD subscribers are now twenty-five percent below where they were in Q1 2016,” Variety said in the report. 

Variety sees the overall current subscription universe as 63.6 million for traditional pay-TV and 11.7 million for the vMVPD universe, for a total of 75.3 million. Leichtman lists 77.6 million, but the two are not necessarily counting all the same companies. 

 Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Image: Reuters