So called cable-cutting induced subscriber churn continued to wreck havoc on the U.S. subscriber base of traditional pay-TV operators in 2022, according to a recently released study of publicly reporting service providers.

Some of the largest regularly reporting U.S. multi-channel-video pay TV providers lost some 5.9 million net video subscribers in 2022, compared to a net loss of 4.7 million in 2021, according to a new report from the Leichtman Research Group.

As a result, traditional U.S. pay-TV subscribers now number about 70.2 million and the top seven cable companies have about 37.8 million video programming subscribers. Comparatively, other traditional pay-TV services (primarily satellite and telco TV providers) counted 24.1 million subscribers, while top publicly reporting Internet-delivered virtual multi-channel video pay-TV services registered about 8.3 million subscribers, the research found.

But even the rate of new subs moving to Internet-delivered subscription-based live OTT streaming providers slowed in the year.

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Note that the latter category does not include YouTube TV subs, which does not regularly report subscriber data, and is likely the category market share leader.

Source: Leichtman Research Group

Among other key findings in the study are the following:

  • Top cable providers reported a net loss of about 3,530,000 video subscribers in 2022 – compared to a loss of about 2,695,000 subscribers in 2021.
  • Satellite and telco-based pay-TV services had a net loss of about 2,720,000 subscribers in 2022 – compared to a loss of about 2,890,000 subscribers in 2021.
  • The largest Internet-deliver virtual multi-channel video service providers, (excluding YouTube TV) s) added about 370,000 subscribers in 2022 – down from an increase of about 885,000 subscribers in 2021.
  • Traditional pay-TV services (cable, satellite and telcos) reported a cumulative net loss of about 6,250,000 subscribers in 2022, up from a net loss of about 5,585,000 in 2021.
Source: Leichtman Research Group

“The top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 5.9 million subscribers, compared to a pro forma loss of about 4.7 million subscribers in 2021, and 4.9 million in 2020,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “At the end of 2022, top pay-TV providers had about 70.2 million subscribers, down from 95.5 million at the end of 2012.”

Source: Leichtman Research Group

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By Greg Tarr

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