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AT&T Strikes Out On Q1 Revenue, DIRECTV Takes Major Hit On Subscribers

Nick Dimengo

AT&T was hopeful that Q1 in 2019 would bring an influx of revenue, but, according to reports, the media company missed out big on its projections. With the decline of a reported 83,000 DIRECTV NOW customers, AT&T came in under Wall Street targets of an estimated $45.1 billion, with the revenue for Q1 coming in at $44.83 billion, with net income of $4.10 billion (down 12% from the $4.7 billion in 2018’s Q1). The only positive was that AT&T said it cut its net debt by about $2.3 billion, with the company expecting to have paid off about 75% of the $40 billion in debt related to the Time Warner acquisition by the end of 2019.

In related industry news, HBO revenue declined by 7% in Q1 to $1.5 billion. Turner revenue was down just 0.4% to $3.4 billion—however, Turner’s ad revenue dropped 6% in Q1. Warner Bros. revenue was $3.5 billion, up 8.6% from Q1 in 2018.

Back to AT&T, the AT&T Entertainment Group lost more than 544,000 net subscribers for DIRECTV and U-verse TV to 22.4 million at the end of Q1, which is down 2.4%. It also saw a decline of 5.2% in Q1 for DIRECTV NOW subscriptions, leading to an overall decline in sales for the AT&T Entertainment Group by 0.9%, leading to $11.33 billion.

Speaking on the first quarter numbers, AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson had this to say during an earnings call.

“Our first-quarter results show that we’re delivering on what we promised. We’re on plan to meet our deleveraging goals with strong free cash flow and asset sales.”

According to the reports, Stephenson said DIRECTV NOW subscribers should stabilize through the back half of 2019 following AT&T raising the prices for all existing DIRECTV NOW subscribers by $10 per month just last month.

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