April 24, 2019
AT&T’s pay-TV and online TV businesses continue to reflect ongoing challenges as consumers migrate away from the traditional cable bundle toward an increasingly fragmented over-the-top video market.
The telecom April 24 reported it lost 544,000 pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter (ended March 31) — up 190% from a loss of 187,000 video subs during the previous-year period.
AT&T ended the period with more than 22.3 million pay-TV subs, which includes satellite operator DirecTV and U-verse. That’s down more than 1.5 million combined subs from 2018.
Meanwhile, DirecTV Now — AT&T’s much-hyped standalone online TV service – lost 83,000 subscribers compared to a gain of 312,000 subs during the previous-year period.
The streaming service ended the period with 1.5 million subs compared to 1.46 million subs last year.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson attributed DirecTV Now sub losses to weaning out early subscribers paying the introductory $34.99.
‘We’ve seen the effect of that in the fourth quarter and the first quarter,” he said. “Second quarter you’ll see that moderate, and I actually believe second half of the year base of what we’re seeing in terms of uptake in the market on the new platform and the new product. We should have a decent second half of the year on DirecTV Now.”