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AT&T: DIRECTV Lost 251K Subs In 3Q

Tilted view of satellite dish on white multi-story house --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

AT&T revealed today that DIRECTV lost a net of 251,000 subscribers in the third quarter while the company’s other TV service, U-verse, lost a net of 134,000 video customers in the time period.

The new sub numbers were in the company’s third quarter report, which was released this afternoon.

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AT&T’s combined video losses in the traditional pay TV business was 385,000. The telco said DIRECTV Now, its live streaming service, added 296,000 net subscribers in the third quarter, not enough to offset the combined losses of DIRECTV and U-verse. (DIRECTV NOW has roughly 800,000 subscribers, 11 months following its debut.)

Overall, the company lost a net of 89,000 video subscribers in the quarter.

AT&T blamed the losses by DIRECTV and U-verse on “over-the-top
services (streaming), hurricanes and stricter credit standards.” There were several hurricanes in the third quarter, including two that impacted the states of Texas and Florida, and the streaming business continues to heat up with new entries.

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However, AT&T promised last year that the company would begin to show a net gain in 2017 from the traditional pay TV category as it converted U-verse subscribers to DIRECTV.

The significant loss by DIRECTV in the third quarter, a time when the satcaster usually does well thanks to new NFL Sunday Ticket subscribers, will likely concern investors and financial analysts.

DIRECTV added a net of 323,000 video subscribers in the 2016 third quarter.

Despite the sub losses, AT&T said total video revenues were up 1.9 percent in the third quarter with satellite gains offsetting declines in the U-verse business.

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— Phillip Swann