AT&T today released its second quarter earnings report and the numbers continue to paint a horrifying picture for the company’s TV business.
According to the report, AT&T lost 4.5 million TV subscribers from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2020, falling to 18.4 million from 22.9 million. The numbers include losses for DIRECTV, U-verse and AT&T TV Now.
DIRECTV and U-verse combined for 3.920 million sub losses in that time period while AT&T TV Now, the company’s live streaming service, lost 580,000 customers. (AT&T now combines subscriber numbers for DIRECTV and U-verse rather than break them out.)
In the second quarter of 2020, DIRECTV and U-verse (and AT&T TV, the company’s new Internet-based TV service) combined for a net loss of 886,000 subs while AT&T TV Now lost a net of 68,000.
The subscriber defections triggered a 11.4 percent decline in TV-based revenues from June 30,2019 to June 30, 2020.
The continued loss of subscribers will likely spark more speculation that AT&T will try to sell DIRECTV in the coming months, perhaps to rival Dish. Despite buying it for $49 billion in 2015, AT&T has struggled to find a successful formula for the satellite TV service. DIRECTV and U-verse have combined to lose more than seven million subscribers in the last five years.
AT&T has acknowledged the difficulties facing the pay TV business, and DIRECTV in particular, and has said it will focus more on AT&T TV and HBO Max, which it launched in May.
In the good news department, AT&T reported that HBO and HBO Max combined for 36.3 million U.S. subscribers at the second quarter, a five percent increase from June 30, 2019.
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— Phillip Swann