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DIRECTV NOW Loses Another 168,000 Subscribers, With New Bundles & Price Hike Continuing to Impact Service

Stephanie Sengwe

It seems AT&T’s second quarter didn’t go any better than its first. In their second quarter, AT&T is reporting that they lost 778,000 premium TV subscribers subscribers and a whopping 168,000 DIRECTV NOW subscribers, following two consecutive quarters which saw 350,000 drop in paid subscribers. With the continuing losses, DIRECTV NOW has 1.34 million subscribers total, down from their peak of 1.85 million last September.

With the decline, DIRECTV NOW is likely now the third largest vMVPD. Sling TV at last reports had 2.4 million subscribers. Hulu Live TV announced in September that they had reached 1 million subscribers, but some have speculated that they are closing in on 2 million subscribers. YouTube TV has never disclosed subscribers, but reports place them at 1 million, PlayStation Vue at 800,000, and fuboTV at 300,000.

The results come as no surprise, considering the fact that AT&T has—in addition to raising prices, retiring plans, and ending significant promos—been in a number of carriage disputes as of late.

In mid-March, DIRECTV NOW introduced their PLUS ($50) and MAX ($70) plans, while removing their Live a Little, Just Right, Go Big, and Even More plans for new customers. Existing customers could keep their plan, but with a $10 price increase. Their new PLUS and MAX plans gained HBO, but lost those from A&E, AMC, and Discovery/Scripps. The company has since dropped Nick Jr. and NFL Network from their legacy plans, while replacing them with Turner-owned Boomerang.

Going forward, there will likely be an impact on subscribers due to their recent contract disputes with local channel operators. Earlier this month, a carriage dispute with Nexstar, which saw service interruptions in Nashville, Austin, and Las Vegas and Honolulu.

After failing to come to a resolution with CBS last week, the channel and its affiliates were dropped nationally from DIRECTV NOW. For those with DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse, the 17 markets affected include: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Dallas, San Francisco, Boston, Atlanta, Tampa, Seattle, Detroit, Minneapolis, Miami, Denver, Sacramento, Pittsburgh and Baltimore. It is expected to affect 6.5 million customers across the different services.

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