The largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. lost about 120,000 net video subs in Q3 of this year, drastically lower than the 945,000 customers lost in the third quarter of last year, according to Leichtman Research Group, thanks to gains at vMVPD services.
The leading U.S. platforms account for about 82.6 million subs, with the top seven cable services having 44.3 million video subscribers, satellite TV services having about 22.6 million subscribers and telcos at about 8 million subscribers. The leading vMVPD’s have about 7.7 million customers.
In the period, satellite TV saw the biggest losses, shedding about 775,000 customers (down from the loss of 1.1 million in the same period last year). The top seven cable companies lost 375,000 video subs, slightly lower than the 410,000 lost in Q3 2019. Telcos shed about 5,000 video customers. Meanwhile, vMVPDs (Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, AT&T TV NOW and fuboTV) added 1 million subscribers, up from the 815,000 net adds at the same time last year.
“With the return of live sports in 3Q 2020, internet-delivered vMVPDs had more net additions than in any previous quarter, and pay TV overall had fewer net losses than in any quarter since Q1 2018,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group. “It is more important than ever before to recognize vMVPDs as a key segment of the live pay-TV industry. Hulu + Live TV is now the fifth-largest pay-TV service in the U.S., and YouTube TV (which is not part of LRG’s tracking data because it does not formally report quarterly results) now has over 3 million subscribers, including 1 million net additions thus far in 2020.”