Report: Pay-TV Loses Almost 6 Million Subscribers in 2022; Top Providers Now Account for 70 Million Households
To say that pay TV is on its way out is a bit of an obvious statement at this point. Less than half of American households now have a pay-TV subscription, and cord-cutting seems to be accelerating at an unprecedented rate.
A new report from Leichtman Research Group offers hard numbers to further quantify the struggles of cable and satellite companies. The data shows that the top pay-TV providers in the United States — accounting for 92% of the total market — lost around 5,880,000 net subscribers in 2022. That marks a jump of nearly 1.2 million users over the 2021 total when pay TV lost about 4,700,000 customers.
Traditional cable companies like Comcast, Charter, and Cox fared the worst. Between them, the top three cablers in the U.S. lost over 3 million users in 2022. Among satellite companies, DIRECTV saw the most cord-cutting, with 1.5 million customers ditching their subscriptions.
|Pay-TV Provider||Subscribers at end of 2022||Net Losses in 2022|
|Mediacom||510,000 (LRG Estimate)||-62,000|
|Breezeline||309,627 (LRG Estimate)||-37,102|
|Cable One||181,500 (LRG Estimate)||-79,500|
|DISH TV (DBS)||7,416,000||-805,000|
|Verizon Fios (Telco)||3,301,000||-343,000|
|Frontier (Telco)||306,000 (LRG Estimate)||-74,000|
Interestingly, the data from Leichtman also shows that live TV streaming services — also known as virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) — didn’t pick up nearly as many users as traditional TV lost. Sling TV saw a net loss of 152,000 users in 2022, but Hulu + Live TV and fuboTV gained at least 200,000 users each, despite the fact that both services raised their prices last year.
|Live TV Streamer||Subscribers at end of 2022||Net Adds in 2022|
|Hulu + Live TV||4,500,000||200,000|
The modest gains of Hulu and Fubo demonstrate that people still see value in having the amount of entertainment a pay-TV subscription puts at their disposal, but the long-term contracts and often onerous equipment demands of traditional cable and satellite plan are simply too much to put up with.
Some cable outlets think they’re well prepared for cord-cutting to continue. Comcast CFO Jason Armstrong recently told industry analysts that his company is aiming to replace cord-cutters with streaming customers on its direct-to-consumer platform Peacock.
“That’s the balance we’ve got to get right,” Armstrong said. “If you want to make it more of a parity trade-off, you can — you’ve got to replace the mechanism. You’re adding a streaming sub as you lose linear subs, and you’ve sort of got it covered domestically. “
Whether it truly is that simple remains to be seen, although it’s fair to point out that Peacock added 11 million paid users in 2022, while Comcast cable lost more than 2 million. Either way, there’s no doubting that cord-cutting is not only continuing across the United States, but it’s also accelerating.
Peacock is a subscription video streaming service from NBCUniversal that includes original shows, blockbuster movies, and classic television series. Peacock is home to “Yellowstone,” and “The Office,” as well as original hits like “Poker Face” and “Bel-Air.” You can also watch live sports including Sunday Night Football, Premier League, and exclusive MLB games. Peacock is also the exclusive home to many WWE events like WrestleMania. Premium Plus subscribers can stream their local NBC feed in all 210 markets.
Peacock includes news, entertainment, sports, late-night, and reality from various NBCU properties including NBC, Bravo, and E!.
Peacock also includes the entire library of Bravo shows and has exclusives like “Below Deck: Down Under.” They also include live and on-demand access to Hallmark channels.
The company has acquired the rights to many classic shows like “Parks and Recreation,” and the entire Dick Wolf library including “Law & Order” and “Chicago Fire.”
The service also features blockbusters and critically-acclaimed films from Universal Pictures, Focus Features, DreamWorks Animation, Illumination and content acquired from Hollywood’s biggest studios.