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Hulu Live and YouTube TV ‘Exceptionally Strong’ in Q4, Drive Up Miserable Pay TV Cord Cutting Numbers

With Comcast, AT&T, Charter Communications and Verizon each reporting significant video losses in the fourth quarter, the U.S. linear pay TV business has lost nearly 1.5 million customers before Dish Network and Altice USA have reported their earnings.

MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson projects that overall pay TV recession will hit a record -6.8%, but will be offset by an “exceptionally strong” growth quarter for virtual MVPDs Hulu Live TV and YouTube.

In his note to shareholders this morning, titled “U.S. Media: Get Those Life Boats Ready,” Nathanson said he didn’t have accurate data enough data to detail precisely how well the vMVPD sector did in Q4. But by all accounts, Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV “crushed it” during the quarter.

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For its part, AT&T lost 907,000 users across DirecTV satellite, U-verse IPTV and AT&T Now vMVPD services. Wireless rival Verizon reported a loss of 58,000 Fios TV users. And in cable, Comcast said it lost 151,000 pay TV users, while Charter said it shedded 40,000.

The total attrition fo 1.467 million was about 311,000 more than MoffettNathanson had forecasted going into Q4 earnings reports.