AT&T’s TV services — DIRECTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now — accounted for 84 percent of pay TV losses in 2019, according to a new study from Leichtman Research.
The firm found that the largest pay TV operators in the United States (representing 95 percent of the market) last year lost roughly 4.9 million subscribers, but AT&T’s losses came to about 4,1 million subscribers.
By comparison, AT&T’s net losses in 2018 represented about 48 percent of the overall subscriber defections from the industry’s top providers. The three AT&T TV services lost about 750,000 customers in 2018.
Minus AT&T, the top pay TV providers lost about 795,000 subscribers in 2019, compared to 835,000 in 2018.
(The top seven cable companies lost about 1.5 million video subscribers in 2019 compared to a net loss of about 920,000 subscribers in 2018. But the overall pay TV subscriber numbers were improved in 2019 over 2018 by a one million net addition from live streaming services, led by Hulu’s gain of 1.5 million.)
While all pay TV operators clearly still have a cord-cutting problem, AT&T’s staggering losses suggests the telco’s issues are greater than any single cause.
AT&T yesterday went national with its new streaming service, AT&T TV, and the company hopes it will begin to turn the tide.
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— Phillip Swann