Cable, Satellite TV Providers Lost 5.8% of Subscribers in 2021

Leichtman Research Group reported about 4.7 million customers decided to pull the plug

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About 4.7 million people decided to pull the plug on their cable or satellite pay-TV services in 2021, knocking off 5.8% of the subscriber base. The largest cable or satellite TV providers now have about 76.1 million total subscribers, according to a report from Leichtman Research Group.

LRG surveyed providers that make up about 93% of the total cable and satellite market. Last year’s losses are on par with the year prior, when providers lost about 4.9 million subscribers, the report states.

Of the subscribers left, the top seven cable companies account for about 41.3 million. Other traditional pay-TV services, including DirecTV and Dish, have just over 26.8 million subscribers.

Comcast and Charter remain the cable companies with the largest subscriber base, boasting 18.2 million and 15.8 million, respectively, at the end of 2021. Comcast lost nearly 1.7 million subscribers in 2021, while Charter lost about 370,000.

Another 7.9 million subscribers get their television from Internet-delivered services like Hulu + Live TV, Sling TV, and fuboTV, according to LRG.

Internet-delivered services were the only sector to report a net gain in subscribers, adding about 895,000 in 2021 (compared to a 915,000 subscriber gain in 2020).

Not included in LRG’s report are YouTube TV or Philo, because the companies do not frequently report their own statistics. YouTube TV is one of the most popular live TV streaming services on the market, alongside Hulu’s live streaming plan.