DIRECTV added a net of 235,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter while AT&T’s U-verse lost 262,000 subscribers in the time period. However, the company overall reported a subscriber gain for the quarter thanks to the addition of more than 200,000 DIRECTV Now subs in December.
That’s according to AT&T’s fourth quarter report, released this afternoon.
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The satcaster added a net total of 1,228,000 subscribers in 2016. However, U-verse lost 1,361,000 million video subscribers during the year.
At the Merrill Lynch/Bank of America’s media conference last September, AT&T CFO John Stephens maintained that his company was still “on track” to add video subscribers overall in 2016. Counting the DIRECTV Now subs, the company showed a small net gain in video subscribers for the year, probably around 70,000.
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AT&T attributed DIRECTV Now’s strong subscription totals in December to “special promotions and launch pricing.” For the first five weeks of DIRECTV Now, which launched on November 30, the live streaming service featured an introductory offer of $35 a month for 100 channels.
The offer ended on January 9 with the 100-channel plan increased to $60 a month.
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AT&T, which took control of DIRECTV in the summer of 2015, has acknowledged that it’s trying to shift U-verse customers to DIRECTV because it believes it will eventually generate more revenue per subscriber. But at the same time, the telco has said it will offset defections with enough gains to post a combined addition for the two services. However, it was the launch of DIRECTV Now that put the company over the top for the year.
DIRECTV and U-verse combined had 25.3 million video subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter. DIRECTV had roughly 21 million while U-verse had 4.3 million.
— Phillip Swann