Leading US TV providers lose nearly six million subs in 2020 | Media Analysis | Business | News | Rapid TV News
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In a dismal last quarter that summed up a dismal year for the industry, the top ten TV service providers in the US collectively lost 1.265 million subscribers in Q420 2020, leading to a total of 5.98 million losses between them over the course of the full year says the latest informitv Multiscreen Index.
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In the fourth quarter, nine of the top ten services lost television subscribers, with Sling TV gaining 10,000. Charter Communications was the only service among them not to report a net loss of television customers in 2020. The crumb of comfort in the findings was that the total was only slightly less than their loss of 6.08 million the previous year.

Looking at the key players, the Multiscreen Index observed that Comcast lost 227,000 consumer video subscribers in the fourth quarter, reducing its total over the year by 1.30 million to 18.99 million, down from 20.96 million at the end of 2018. In addition to its online losses, AT&T also lost 616,000 premium television customers in the last quarter and shed a total of 2.99 million over the year, leaving it with 16.51 million, compared to 22.90 million at the end of 2018. AT&T NOW TV lost 262,000 online customers over the year, ending with 0.66 million.

Satellite operator DISH Network lost 140,000 television customers in the quarter and 574,000 over the year, to total 8.82 million for the year. Sling TV lost 122,000 online customers over the year, down to 2.47 million.

Telco TV provider Verizon Fios lost 72,000 in the quarter and 298,000 over the course of the year, ending with 3,85 million, while Altice USA lost 74,1000subs in the fourth quarter, and Frontier fell by 33,000 and Mediacom declined by 20,000. They lost over 460,000 television customers between them over the year. Charter lost 66,000 in the last quarter, having gained in the two previous quarters, producing a net gain of 19,000 over the year and ending with 15.64 million television customers.

The online services from AT&T and DISH Network failed to compensate for the loss of satellite television customers. AT&T TV NOW and Sling TV lost 384,000 customers between them over the year. Meanwhile, although the Hulu + Live TV online service lost 100,000 subscribers in the last quarter of 2020, it gained 800,000 over the year to reach 4.00 million, which would place it above Verizon Fios in subscriber numbers.

“2020 saw a further fall in the number of television subscribers in the United States,” observed Dr William Cooper, the editor of the informitv Multiscreen Index. “The top 10 services in our index lost 7.8% of their customer base in 2020, compared to 7.3% the previous year. They now have just over 70 million television customers between them, which is just under 60% of television homes in the United States.”

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