Streaming platforms like Netflix, Prime Video, and others have seen a boom in recent years. Their subscriber base increased at an unprecedented rate during COVID-19, thanks to the lockdown, quality content selection, and relatively affordable pricing. But the growth of these services has come at the cost of pay TV and subscription-based TV streaming platforms gradually losing their user base. Q1, 2023 was reportedly the worst as cord-cutting hit an all-time high with a total reduction of over 2.3 million households.


A report from MoffettNathanson (via Variety) on the cable and TV streaming industry for Q1 2023 claims pay-TV penetration hit an all-time low of 58.5% in the US. Out of this, cable TV lost 9.9% of subscribers, while satellite TV’s user base declined by 13.4%. Combined, there are about 75.5 million pay-TV households in the country, a decline of 7% from last year. This is also the lowest number of pay-TV subscribers in the US since 1992.

Comcast was the worst hit in Q1 2023 as its subscriber base declined by a whopping 614,000 to 15.53 million. Dish Network saw a 13.4% decline in its user base.

Craig Moffett, senior analyst at MoffettNathanson, blames the higher sports-broadcasting fees for the increase in cord-cutting. As pay-TV services hike their rates, they lose subscribers, forcing distributors to increase prices further. He further believes that the pay-TV networks will lose even more households in the coming months.

YouTube TV was the only outlier, as it reportedly managed a net addition of 300,000 subscribers in Q1, 2023, bringing its total user base to about 6.3 million. For comparison, Hulu and FuboTV lost about 100,000 and 160,000 users in the same quarter.

Google revealed in July 2022 that YouTube TV surpassed 5 million users, making it the largest live-streaming service in the US. Based on the latest numbers, the service has added another 1.3 million subscribers since then. What’s impressive is that YouTube TV has achieved this despite costing twice as much as it did when it launched six years ago. With the service winning the streaming rights to NFL Sunday Ticket, its subscriber base should increase further in the coming months.

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