Multichannel Video Subscribers Dropped by 7.2 Million: Kagan

Cord cutting
(Image credit: GoodLifeStudio/Getty Images)

Traditional U.S. pay-TV subscriptions dropped by nearly 7.2 million in 2020 according to the latest figures from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s Kagan unit.

The Kagan figures further document that it was a tough year for pay-TV companies as viewers shifted to streaming amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Americans continue to leave traditional video services in droves," said Tony Lenoir, senior analyst with Kagan.

Kagan also noted that the loss of traditional pay-TV subscribers has been blunted somewhat by virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs), but those fell short of offsetting the losses at cable, telco and satellite.

During the fourth quarter, traditional pay TV subscribers losses slowed to 1.5 million, while vMVPDs gained 223,000 subscribers.

Kagan puts the total number of vMVPD subscribers at 12.5 million.

The combined penetration of traditional and virtual subscriptions -- those with live linear channels in their package -- dropped below 67% at year end. The percentage of households with a traditional multichannel subscription dropped to less than 57%, according to Kagan.

Kagan Cord Cutting Multichannel

(Image credit: Kagan)
Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.