DirecTV Sees More Subscriber Losses, AT&T Trims Time Warner Deal Debt

AT&T’s DirecTV took on more massive subscriber losses -- and some for its new DirecTV Now app in the first quarter.

AT&T’s Direct TV (and its smaller fiber-based U-Verse) dropped 544,000 in losses. DirecTV Now, AT&T’s digital pay TV provider, lost 83,000.

DirecTV/U-verse now totals 22.4 million subscribers, while DirecTV Now is at 1.5 million.

Overall video subscribers from DirecTV, DirecTV Now and AT&T’s older fiber-based U-Verse were collectively down 6% to 23.9 million.

At the end of last year, DirecTV had 19.2 million subscribers, and DirecTV had 1.6 million. AT&T’s older fiber-based U-Verse witnessed a slight gain, up 1.4% to 3.68 million. In the fourth-quarter 2018, the company’s satellite pay TV business lost 403,000 subscribers.

Total AT&T ad revenues for the first quarter of 2019 was $1.8 billion, compared to $392 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase was primarily driven by the acquisition of Time Warner, specifically Turner.



Looking just at Turner, it pulled in $3.4 billion in revenues -- down from $3.5 million. Some of this was due to ad revenue decline "primarily due to [the] shift of NCAA Final Four games” to CBS, as part of its joint TV agreement to air the sports event.

WarnerMedia tallied $1.3 billion, primarily from its Turner unit, in the first three months of this year. (AT&T closed its Time Warner deal in June 2018.) AT&T’s Communications unit posted $417 million in ad revenues, up 11% versus the year before. Xandr grew 26.4% to $416 million, mostly coming from its AppNexus acquisition.

AT&T says 75% of its $40 billion debt the company took on with the Time Warner deal will be paid off by year’s-end.

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