TV providers in the U.S. collectively lost 2.3 million customers in the first quarter of 2023. “With the Q1 decline, total pay-TV penetration of occupied U.S. households (including for internet services like YouTube TV and Hulu) dropped to 58.5% — its lowest point since 1992,” reports Variety, citing a report from MoffettNathason. “As of the end of Q1, U.S. pay-TV services had 75.5 million customers, down nearly 7% on an annual basis.” From the report:

Cable TV operators’ rate of decline in Q1 reached -9.9% year over year, while satellite providers DirecTV and Dish Network fell -13.4%. In addition, so-called “virtual MVPDs” (multichannel video programming distributors) lost 264,000 customers in Q1, among the worst quarters to date for the segment. “The picture is not one that suggests that a plateau in the rate of decline is coming any time soon,” Moffett wrote.

Comcast, the largest pay-TV provider in the country, dropped 614,000 video customers in Q1 — the most of any single company — to stand at 15.53 million at the end of the period. Asked about dwindling video business on the company’s earnings call, David Watson, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, acknowledged the reality of cord-cutting and said the operator’s approach is “to not subsidize unprofitable video relationships.” He added, “We’ll fight hard, whether it’s acquisition, base management or retention. So it’s important to us, but we have figured out a way to manage it financially.”

Google’s YouTube TV was the only provider tracked by MoffettNathanson that picked up subs in Q1, adding an estimated 300,000 subscribers in the period (to reach about 6.3 million) and netting 1.4 million subscribers over the past year. Hulu, meanwhile, has barely grown over the past three years (and loss about 100,000 live TV subs in Q1), Moffett noted, while FuboTV lost 160,000 subscribers in North America in the first quarter to mark its worst quarterly loss on record.

MoffettNathason argues that the “pay TV floor” is between 50 million and 60 million U.S. homes. “As things stand, we expect cord-cutting to grow even worse and the long-theorized ‘floor’ to be breached.”