US pay TV providers continued to lose millions of subscribers in 2021

The top pay TV providers in the US lost just shy of 4.7 million subscribers in 2021 as consumers in the country continued to cut the cord.

According to Leichtman Research Group, the largest providers who represent about 93% of the market,  lost about 4,690,000 net video subscribers in 2021. The figure is less than in 2020 when the same providers lostabout 4,870,000.

Overall, the country’s top pay TV operators now account for about 76.1 million subscribers.

The top seven cable companies – Comcast, Charter, Cox, Altice, Mediacom, Breezelaine/Atlantic Broadband and Cable One – ended 2021 with a total of 41.3 million video subscribers. 

Of those, Comcast was the largest with 18.2 million subscribers, while it also shed the most customers in 2021 (1.7 million). Charter was in second with 15.8 million subscribers, and lost 367,000 customers in 2021.

Other traditional services such as DirecTV and Dish TV ended the year with over 26.8 million customers, losing 2.9 million in 2021. vMVPD services continue to be the sole area of growth in the pay TV market, with the top players in this space adding 894,000 customers to reach a total of 7.9 million.

Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, said: “While the pay-TV industry continued to lose subscribers, net losses in 2021 were fairly similar to those in recent years. 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.”

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