Video cord-cutting continues at a fast pace, with the largest pay TV providers in the U.S. losing just under 5 million subscribers in 2019, more than three times the number in 2018, according to a new report from Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG).

The top pay TV providers represent about 95% of the entire market with 86.2 million subscribers. The top seven cable companies have 45.8 million video subscribers and satellite TV providers have 25.4 million subscribers; while the top telephone companies have 8.3 million subscribers, and the top three publicly reporting Internet-delivered (vMVPD) pay-TV services have 6.7 million subscribers.

“Overall, the top pay-TV providers lost 5.4% of subscribers in 2019 compared to a loss of 1.7% in 2018,” said Bruce Leichtman, Leichtman Research Group, Inc. president and principal analyst, in a prepared statement. “The significant increase in pay-TV net losses in 2019 was both a function of consumers having more video options and the decisions by AT&T and other providers to increasingly focus on long-term profitability in acquiring and retaining subscribers.”

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Among other findings in the video cord cutting report:

  • Satellite TV services lost about 3.7 million subscribers in 2019 – compared to a net loss of just under 2.4 million in 2018
  • DIRECTV lost about 3.2 million subscribers in 2019 – compared to a net loss of about 1.235 million subscribers in 2018
  • In 2019, DBS services cumulatively lost 12.7% of video subscribers – compared to a loss of 7.5% in 2018

Service providers recognize the video cord cutting trend and have started to encourage customers to shift to such services — a move that may drive customers to purchase higher-speed broadband from the provider. Less than two weeks ago, Telecompetitor reported that regional cable and broadband operator WOW! introduced streaming TV partnerships that fully embrace cord cutting, providing more evidence of a rapidly changing video landscape.

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