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AT&T Expects to Lose Over a Million Pay-TV Subscribers In The Third Quarter

Jason Gurwin

AT&T has issued a warning to investors and the message is not pretty. AT&T CFO John Stephens shared that ” the company expects an incremental 300,000 to 350,000 premium video losses above the previous quarter’s premium video results.” Last quarter, AT&T reported losses of 778,000 premium TV subscribers, meaning that the third quarter will be over a million.

Although they didn’t disclose their expectations for DIRECTV NOW, which has since been renamed AT&T TV NOW, the losses are expected to continue. Last quarter, they lost 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.

Much of the losses were driven by continuing to limit promotions for customers and a summer filled with blackouts. AT&T had contentious negotiations that led to blackouts of both CBS and Nexstar locals. While both have since come to a deal, customers likely looked elsewhere during the blackouts. But, now the company is on the verge of losing ESPN, Disney, and Freeform.

AT&T hopes that things will improve in 2020 with the the nationwide launch of AT&T TV. But, since it’s largely AT&T TV NOW, but at inflated prices with contracts — it would be surprising if it makes a difference.

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