DIRECTV and U-verse have lost roughly six million subscribers since AT&T took control of the satcaster in the second quarter of 2015.
The satellite service had 20.2 million subscribers at the end of the second quarter five years ago. U-verse, which was owned by AT&T prior to the company’s July 2015 purchase of DIRECTV, had 5.97 million at the same point.
That means that AT&T’s two premium TV services combined for 26.2 million subscribers, which made it the nation’s leading TV provider in 2015.
But yesterday, AT&T reported that DIRECTV and U-verse had 20.4 million subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 after it lost 945,000 combined in the three month period. (AT&T no longer breaks out the subscriber numbers for DIRECTV and U-verse, choosing instead to combine them.)
The losses represent a 22.2 percent decrease in subscribers in four and one-half years.
AT&T now sits behind Comcast in total video subscribers. The cable operator reported having 21.2 million at the end of the fourth quarter of 2019 after losing 149,000 in the period.
Cord-cutting is certainly one reason why AT&T has lost so many subscribers in the last 54 months. But by comparison, Comcast has lost just 1.1 million subscribers during that time, far less than the six million lost by AT&T. (Comcast had 22.2 million at the end of the second quarter of 2015.)
In addition, AT&T’s answer to cord-cutting — the live streaming service, AT&T TV Now, formerly DIRECTV Now — has lost 934,000 subscribers in the last 15 months. AT&T TV Now had 926,000 subscribers at the end of 2019’s fourth quarter, AT&T reported yesterday.
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— Phillip Swann