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Traditional TV Providers Lost Nearly 2M Subscribers as Cord Cutting Continues

Stephen Silver

The top pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost a total of about 1,925,000 subscribers in the second quarter of 2022, more than the 1,235,000 they lost in the same quarter last year. That’s according to the quarterly report from Leichtman Research Group, which drew from public earnings reports by the companies.

Notable in the release was that every single provider listed lost subscribers in the quarter. The cable side lost nearly 950,000 net subscribers, with Comcast and Charter losing 520,000 and 226,000 subscribers each, and all of the smaller providers (Cox, Altice, Mediacom, and Breezeline) showing losses as well. DIRECTV lost an estimated 400,000, Dish Network subtracted 202,000, and Verizon Fios lost 87,000.

Even the live TV streaming category stumbled, with Hulu Live TV and FuboTV both losing more than 100,000 subscribers and Sling TV dropping 55,000; YouTube TV is not included in Leichtman’s numbers since Google does not regularly announce subscriber figures for the service. That category had gained 55,000 subscribers in the same quarter last year.

The report found that the providers now have a total of 72.2 million subscribers, of which 39.5 million are from cable companies, the “other” category (satellite and telephone companies) having 25.5 million, and live streaming services having 7.2 million.

“The second quarter of 2022 marked the second consecutive quarter with over 1.9 million net pay-TV losses,” Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.. “Over the past year, top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 5,425,000 subscribers, compared to a net loss of about 4,550,000 over the prior year.”

Many of the companies, especially on the cable side, have been trying to make up for the losses by adding broadband subscribers. But a report by Leichtman earlier this month found that while the industry added broadband customers overall, growth was flat for Comcast, while the likes of Cox and Charter actually lost such customers in the quarter. Hundreds of thousands of customers are turning to 5G home wireless services from the likes of T-Mobile and Verizon, as they become available in more areas.

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