Pay-TV Stems Cordcutting Losses

(Image credit: Pixabay)

DURHAM, NH—The largest U.S. pay TV operators saw fewer subscriber losses in 2021 than in 2020, according to Leichtman Research Group.

The research firm reported that pay-TV providers in the U.S. representing about 93% of the market lost about 4,690,000 net video subscribers in 2021, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 4,870,000 in 2020.

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 76.1 million subscribers, with the top seven cable companies having 41.3 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services having over 26.8 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having 7.9 million subscribers.

(Image credit: LRG)

Key findings for the year include:

  • Top cable providers had a net loss of about 2,695,000 video subscribers in 2021, compared to a loss of about 1,940,000 subscribers in 2020;
  • Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 2,890,000 subscribers in 2021 compared to a loss of about 3,845,000 subscribers in 2020;
  • Top publicly reporting vMVPDs added about 895,000 subscribers in 2021, compared to a gain of about 915,000 subscribers in 2020
  • Traditional pay-TV services (not including vMVPD) had a net loss of about 5,585,000 subscribers in 2021, compared to a net loss of about 5,785,000 in 2020

“While the pay-TV industry continued to lose subscribers, net losses in 2021 were fairly similar to those in recent years,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “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 4.1 million in 2019.”

Tom Butts

Tom has covered the broadcast technology market for the past 25 years, including three years handling member communications for the National Association of Broadcasters followed by a year as editor of Video Technology News and DTV Business executive newsletters for Phillips Publishing. In 1999 he launched for internet B2B portal Verticalnet. He is also a charter member of the CTA's Academy of Digital TV Pioneers. Since 2001, he has been editor-in-chief of TV Tech (, the leading source of news and information on broadcast and related media technology and is a frequent contributor and moderator to the brand’s Tech Leadership events.