AT&T To Lose Nearly 400,000 TV-Video Subs

AT&T said it would lose a total of 390,000 traditional TV-video subscribers from its DirecTV and U-verse pay TV business in the third quarter of this year.

In a filing with the SEC, AT&T also said it would gain about 300,000 subscribers for its DirecTV Now-- the live, linear streaming package of networks.

But this is not good news.  

“Either way, that’s a very weak number, and that is what really scared people,” says Craig Moffett, senior research analyst of MoffettNathanson Research, on CNBC on Thursday.

Moffett says AT&T was putting a lot of money in promotional and advertising against DirecTV Now. AT&T was getting an effective $60-a-month profit margin per subscriber from its traditional DirecTV business, but an effective $20 loss for its new DirecTV Now business.

“It tells you they are really struggling,” says Moffett.

Analysts say AT&T and other pay TV providers are now subject to increased “cord-cutting” -- traditional pay TV consumers leaving their long-time pay TV networks' packages.

This year, there will be 22.2 million cord-cutters 18 and older -- up 33.2% over 2016, according to eMarketer.

Previously, Comcast announced that it expected to lose around 150,000 video subs in third-quarter 2017.

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