The TV Answer Man!

Why Won’t AT&T Reveal DIRECTV Now’s Sub Numbers?

AT&T today said DIRECTV Now subscribers ‘continued to increase’ in the first quarter,
but did not reveal specific numbers in its first quarter earnings report.

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The report said DIRECTV’s satellite TV service added zero net subscribers between January 1 and March 31 while AT&T’s U-verse TV service lost a net of 233,000 subs.

While AT&T did not reveal specific numbers for DIRECTV Now, it did say new subscribers to the live streaming service helped “offset” the overall sub decline of the two traditional pay TV services.

It’s unclear if ‘offset’ means DIRECTV Now had as many or more than 233,000 net subs in the first quarter, or that the streaming service’s growth simply helped diminish the overall loss. (The definition of ‘offset’ is: “a consideration or amount that diminishes or balances the effect of a contrary one.” So we don’t know if DIRECTV Now diminished the overall loss, or balanced it out entirely.)


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AT&T revealed earlier this year that DIRECTV Now had more than 200,000 paying customers at the end of the fourth quarter. (The live streaming service launched on November 30.)

But for reasons unexplained in the report, the company refrained from offering specifics on DIRECTV Now’s subscribers in the first quarter.

“Total linear video subscribers (DIRECTV and U-verse) were down in the quarter; however, DIRECTV NOW subscribers continued to increase,” the report stated.

AT&T and DIRECTV finished the first quarter with 25 million total subscribers, compared to nearly 25.3 million at the end of the fourth quarter.


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AT&T execs will hold a conference call with analysts this afternoon to discuss the first quarter report and may at that time reveal more about DIRECTV Now’s sub totals.

However, there could be several reasons for AT&T not divulging DIRECTV Now’s subs now. For instance, the service’s growth could be slowing, or the telco simply doesn’t want to set a precedent for revealing the numbers every quarter.

Update: AT&T did not reveal DIRECTV Now sub numbers in the analyst conference call.

Also see: DIRECTV Now: Don’t Write It Off Yet.

— Phillip Swann