AT&T’s DIRECTV and U-verse, which lost a combined 385,000 net video subscribers in the third quarter, have both dropped their promotional prices for new customers.
The satcaster’s 150-channel Select plan, which was previously $50 a month, is now available for just $35 a month in the first year of a two-year contract. The Select plan reverts to $76 a month in year two; previously, Select rose to $90 a month in the second year of the two-year agreement.
DIRECTV’s Entertainment plan, which offers 155 channels, is now available for $40 a month in the first year of the two-year agreement. Previously, Entertainment cost $55 a month in the first year.
Promotional prices for the satellite service’s Choice, Xtra, Ultimate and Premier plans have also been reduced to $45 a month, $55 a month, $60 a month and $110 a month respectively in the first year. Previously, Choice was $60 a month; Xtra was $70 a month; Ultimate was $75 a month; and Premier was $125 a month, all in the first year.
The second-year prices for all six plans have also been reduced. (Note: DIRECTV charges $20 a month for each month that you terminate your two-year deal before it expires.)
In addition, DIRECTV is also offering new customers with two-year plans three free months of HBO, Showtime, Starz and Cinemax, as well as the NFL Sunday Ticket for the remainder of the 2017 season, and a fee-free HD DVR for the first 12 months of the deal.
AT&T has also lowered ‘new customer’ promotional prices for its four U-verse plans. The U-Family plan is now $35 a month for the first year; the U200 is $55 a month; the U300 plan is $65 a month; and the U450 is $110 a month. Previously, the four plans were $50 a month, $70 a month; $75 a month; and $125 a month, respectively, in year one of the two-year agreement. Like DIRECTV, U-verse subscribers must pay a higher monthly fee in year two of the deal, but those second-year prices have also been cut.
AT&T reported last month that DIRECTV and U-verse lost a combined 385,000 net video subscribers in the third quarter. (DIRECTV lost 251,000 subs while U-verse lost 134,00. DIRECTV Now, the company’s new live streaming service, helped offset the losses by adding 296,000 net subs in the quarter.)
AT&T’s decision to lower promotional prices for DIRECTV and U-verse as the holiday season heats up would seem to be an effort to combat an industry trend of video losses for traditional pay TV operators. Some subscribers are opting to cut the cord, or switch to lower-cost live streaming services such as DIRECTV Now and Sling TV.
At $35 a month, the first-year promotional price for DIRECTV’s Select and U-verse’s U-family now match the entry price for its DIRECTV Now service.
AT&T CFO John Stephens said last month that AT&T expects to post a net gain in video subscribers in the fourth quarter, combining all three video services. The addition, he predicted, will include an improvement in subscribers from the company’s two traditional TV services, DIRECTV and U-verse.
The lower promotional prices for new customers would seem to be a major part of that effort.
— Phillip Swann