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US operators shed 5 million subs in 2020

Pay TV operators in the US lost a collective 5 million subscribers in 2020 as the impact of cord-cutting continued to be felt.

According to Leichtman Research Group, the largest pay TV providers (making up about 95% of the market) lost 5.12 million net video subscribers in 2020. This is up from 4.79 million lost in 2019, with both the Covid-19 pandemic and transitions to OTT solutions being felt.

Overall, the country’s top providers now account for about 81.3 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 43.9 million video subscribers, satellite TV services having about 21.8 million subscribers, the top telephone companies having 7.9 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having 7.7 million subscribers.

Comcast, still the largest pay TV operator in the US, ended 2020 with a total of 19.85 million subscribers, down by 1.4 million for the year.

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst at Leichtman Research Group, said: “Net pay-TV losses of over 5 million subscribers in 2020 were slightly higher than in 2019, and more than in any previous year. Overall, the top pay-TV providers lost 5.9% of subscribers in 2020, compared to 5.2% in 2019.”