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Major pay-TV providers lost about 4,700,000 subscribers in 2021

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 93% of the market – lost about 4,690,000 net video subscribers in 2021, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 4,870,000 in 2020.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 76.1 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 41.3 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services having over 26.8 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having 7.9 million subscribers.

Key findings for the year include:

  • Top cable providers had a net loss of about 2,695,000 video subscribers in 2021 – compared to a loss of about 1,940,000 subscribers in 2020
  • Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 2,890,000 subscribers in 2021 – compared to a loss of about 3,845,000 subscribers in 2020
  • Top publicly reporting vMVPDs added about 895,000 subscribers in 2021 – compared to a gain of about 915,000 subscribers in 2020
  • Traditional pay-TV services (not including vMVPD) had a net loss of about 5,585,000 subscribers in 2021 – compared to a net loss of about 5,785,000 in 2020

“While the pay-TV industry continued to lose subscribers, net losses in 2021 were fairly similar to those in recent years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “In 2021, the top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 4.7 million subscribers, compared to a pro forma loss of about 4.9 million subscribers in 2020, and a loss of 4.1 million in 2019.”

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of 2021 Net Adds in 2021
Cable Companies
Comcast 18,176,000 (1,670,000)
Charter 15,833,000 (367,000)
Cox* 3,390,000 (260,000)
Altice** 2,732,300 (240,900)
Mediacom 572,000 (71,000)
Breezeline/Atlantic Broadband** 346,729 (36,271)
Cable One** 261,000 (50,000)
Total Top Cable 41,311,029 (2,695,171)
Other Traditional Services
DIRECTV^ 14,600,000 (1,905,000)
DISH TV (DBS) 8,221,000 (595,000)
Verizon Fios (Telco) 3,644,000 (283,000)
Frontier (Telco)* 380,000 (105,000)
Total Top Other Traditional 26,845,000 (2,888,000)
Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
Hulu + Live TV 4,300,000 300,000
Sling TV 2,486,000 12,000
fuboTV 1,129,807 581,927
Total Top vMVPD^^ 7,915,807 893,927
Total Top Providers 76,071,836 (4,689,244)
The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.
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