The largest traditional cable providers collectively lost over 1.8 million customers in the first quarter of 2023 – an overall loss of 2.9% of customers. To put the quarter’s loss into perspective, the big cable providers lost almost 20,000 cable customers per day throughout the quarter.
The numbers below come from Leichtman Research Group which compiles these numbers from reports made to investors, except for Cox and Mediacom, which is estimated. The numbers reported are for the largest cable providers, and LRG estimates that these companies represent 95% of all cable customers in the country.
Following is a comparison of the first quarter subscriber numbers compared to the end of the 2022:
|1Q 2023||4Q 2022||1Q Change||% Change|
Some observations about the numbers:
- The big overall loser is now Comcast, which lost a net of 614,000 traditional video customers in the quarter.
- The big percentage losers continued to be Frontier which lost 5.9% of its cable customers, and cable ONE that lost 8% of customers.
- Charter lost the lowest percentage of customers at 1.6% of its customer base, but that still totaled to be 241,000 customers.
To put these losses into perspective, these same companies had over 85 million cable customers at the end of 2018 – a loss since then of 25 million customers (29%).
The biggest online programming providers are also losing customers, and collectively lost 2.8% of customers for the quarter, the same as the cable companies. It’s clear that a lot of homes are cleanly cutting the cord and replacing traditional channel lineups with something else.
A few folks have asked me why I continue to track cable subscriptions. First, while cable is getting slaughtered in the market, half of all U.S. homes continue to use some form of traditional cable. Second, these big losses for the big cable companies are part of what is driving them to continue to raise broadband rates, even as they’ve stopped adding broadband customers. I think this is still relevant as long as the majority of cable customers are served by the largest ISPs. But ultimately, it’s hard to stop watching a slow motion train wreck while it’s happening.