Today AT&T announced that DIRECTV NOW lost 168,000 subscribers in the 2nd quarter of 2019. This is up from the 83,000 subscribers DIRECTV NOW lost in the 1st quarter of 2019 and the 267,000 subscribers lost in the 4th quarter of 2018. In total DIRECTV NOW has lost 518,000 subscribers since the start of the 4th quarter of 2018. This likely puts DIRECTV NOW as the 4th most popular live TV streaming service down form the 2nd largest. Sling TV, YouTube TV, and Hulu all reportedly have more subscribers.
In Total AT&T lost 778,000 TV subscribers in the second quarter of 2019. This means AT&T is losing over 8,549 subscribers every single day. AT&T blames the loss on “an increase in customers rolling off promotional discounts, competition and lower gross adds due to a focus on the long-term value customer base.”
AT&T has been warning that DIRECTV NOW would likely lose subscribers now that has come true. During AT&T’s 1st quarter 2019 call, AT&T’s CEO warned that AT&T could still lose more subscribers in the second quarter of 2019. He did add that DIRECTV NOW would have “decent growth” in the second half of 2019.
Again in May AT&T warned that the second quarter of 2019 would see DIRECTV NOW lose subscribers. “Second quarter is always seasonally high in terms of churn. But you’re not going to see that mitigate this year. It’s going to take pretty much this year to work through this customer cleanup,” AT&T’s CEO and President Stephenson said during a J.P. Morgan Conference.
Now in AT&T’s 2nd Quater Investor Briefing, it blames the loss of DIRECTV NOW subscribers on “higher prices and less promotional activity.”
The drop in new subscribers is likely caused by several factors like increased competition from new live TV streaming services, DIRECTV NOW’s recently price hike, fewer deals on DIRECTV NOW (for example the end of their Apple TV deal and the end of the 3 months for $10 deal) and a lack of promotion of DIRECTV NOW overall. Recently AT&T has pulled back on its promotion of DIRECTV NOW as it spends less on ads for the service.
While DIRECTV NOW saw their growth slow other cord cutting services like Hulu and Netflix have reportedly seen strong growth. Hulu now has about 2 million live TV subscribers and YouTube TV reportedly now has over 1 million subscribers.
AT&T’s Entertainment Group had revenues of $11.4 billion down 1.0% year over year.
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