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Biggest quarterly subscriber loss on record for US cable operators

The US’s largest pay TV operators lost almost 2 million subscribers in the first quarter of the year.

According to Leichtman Research Group, the largest pay TV providers in the US representing about 95% of the market lost about 1.895 million subscribers in Q1 2021. While significant, this loss was lower than the 1.955 million those same operators lost a year prior.

In total, the country’s top pay TV providers now account for 78.7 million subscribers in the US, with the top seven cable companies having 43.1 million. Other traditional pay TV services have about 28.9 million subscribers, while vMVPD providers like Hulu + Live TV have about 6.7 million.

While the hit was less than in 2020, the number of subscribers lost by cable operators like Comcast, Charter and Altice was up by almost 200,000 to a total of 775,000 for Q1. This was the biggest quarterly loss for cable operators on record, LRG said.

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said: “Pay TV net losses of about 1.9 million in Q1 2021 were similar to the net losses in Q1 2020. Over the past year, top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 4,790,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 5,125,000 over the prior year.”