Press Releases

Major Pay-TV Providers Lost About 650,000 Subscribers in 3Q 2021

Annual Net Losses Similar to Last Year

Durham, NH — November 18, 2021 — Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) found that the largest pay-TV providers in the U.S. – representing about 93% of the market – lost about 650,000 net video subscribers in 3Q 2021, compared to a pro forma net loss of about 90,000 in 3Q 2020. 

The top pay-TV providers now account for about 77 million subscribers – with the top seven cable companies having 41.9 million video subscribers, other traditional pay-TV services having over 27.5 million subscribers, and the top publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services having 7.5 million subscribers.

Key findings for the quarter include:

  • Top cable providers had a net loss of about 700,000 video subscribers in 3Q 2021 – compared to a loss of about 380,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020
  • Other traditional pay-TV services had a net loss of about 635,000 subscribers in 3Q 2021 – compared to a loss of about 780,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020
  • Top publicly reporting vMVPDs added about 680,000 subscribers in 3Q 2021 – compared to a gain of about 1,070,000 subscribers in 3Q 2020

“While pay-TV net losses in the quarter increased from last year’s third quarter, annual net losses were relatively similar to a year ago,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc.  “Over the past year, top pay-TV providers had a net loss of about 5,100,000 subscribers, compared to a loss of about 4,820,000 over the prior year.”

Pay-TV Providers Subscribers at end of 3Q 2021 Net Adds in 3Q 2021
Cable Companies
Atlantic Broadband**360,000(6,000)
Cable One279,000 (8,000)
Total Top Cable41,932,000(700,500)
Other Traditional Services
DISH TV (DBS)8,424,000(130,000)
Verizon Fios (Telco)3,714,000(68,000)
Frontier (Telco)*400,000(23,000)
Total Top Other Traditional27,538,000(633,000)
Internet-Delivered (vMVPD)
Hulu + Live TV4,000,000300,000
Sling TV2,556,000117,000

Total Top vMVPD^^7,500,605679,884
Total Top Providers76,970,605(653,616)

Sources: The Companies and Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

*     LRG estimate

**   Includes recent acquisition from WOW, and LRG pro forma estimate of net adds

^    LRG estimate.  Formerly AT&T Premium TV, includes DIRECTV, U-verse, and DIRECTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV).

^^  vMVPD does not include YouTube TV or Philo, as neither regularly report results

Company subscriber counts may not solely represent residential households

Top pay-TV providers represent approximately 93% of all subscribers


Net additions reflect pro forma results from system sales and acquisitions, reporting adjustments, and changes to the list of top providers – therefore, comparing totals in this release to prior releases will not produce accurate findings

About Leichtman Research Group, Inc.

Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG) specializes in research and analysis on broadband, media and entertainment industries. LRG combines ongoing consumer surveys with industry tracking and analysis, to provide companies with a richer understanding of current market conditions, and the potential impact and adoption of new products and services. For more information about LRG, please call (603) 397-5400 or visit

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