DirecTV Bled an Estimated 400,000 Subscribers in Q4

DirecTV satellite dish
(Image credit: DirecTV)

Just because DirecTV's subscriber growth metrics are now shielded from public view doesn't mean they're not still terrible. 

According to Leichtman Research Group (LRG), the pay TV provider that was spun off from AT&T lost an estimated 400,000 customers in the fourth quarter, finishing 2021 with less than 15 million subscribers (around 14.6 million). 

Estimating the final two quarters of 2021 following AT&T's spinoff of DirecTV Holdings to private equity firm TPG, LRG said that DirecTV satellite TV, the IP-based DirecTV Stream and the legacy AT&T U-verse TV combined to lose more than 1.9 million customers last year. 

Of course, for those of you who are still keeping score amid the U.S. pay TV business's drain-circling, the DirecTV grouping lost over 3 million subscribers in 2020. 

Combined, LRG said the top operators representing 95% of U.S. pay TV homes lost around 4.7 million customers in 2021, better than the more than 5.1 million they bled out in 2020. 

Some cable operators, like Charter Communications, actually grew their traditional pay TV ranks in 2020, with quarantined consumers madly paying for video service along with high-speed internet they so desperately needed. 

But that didn't happen as much in 2021, with the top seven MSOs combining to lose nearly 2.7 million customers vs. just over 1.9 million in 2020. 

Virtual MVPD fuboTV -- a subject of equity analyst whippings of late -- experienced the linear pay TV sector's biggest growth, adding a net 581,000 subscribers in 2021. ■

(Image credit: LRG)
Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!