AT&T's WarnerMedia revenues sank 3% in the fourth quarter to $8.9 billion, partly due to the loss of content license revenues in preparation for its HBO Max video platform launch later this year.
AT&T said in its fourth-quarter earnings release: “Without the impact of foreign exchange pressures and HBO Max investments in the form of foregone WarnerMedia content licensing revenues, consolidated revenues would have increased in both the fourth quarter and the full year.”
The company’s overall revenue for the quarter would have been $48.0 billion -- up from its reported $46.8 billion, accounting for its HBO Max investment.
AT&T said it realized $700 million in “run-rate synergies” for HBO Max in preparation for its launch, which will begin in May.
For the fourth-quarter period, AT&T said revenue for Turner networks/platforms grew 1.6%, due to higher subscription fees. HBO’s revenue was up 1.9% from improved digital subscription revenue.
AT&T confirmed that its TV network distribution business lost ground overall in 2019.
DirecTV/U-Verse, its satellite and fiber-based businesses, respectively, dropped 945,000 subscribers to end the year at 19.5 million TV subscribers.
AT&T Now (formerly DirecTV Now) its digital TV provider, dropped 219,000 subscribers for the year. It did not disclose total existing subscribers for the service. Analysts estimate AT&T Now has around 1.3 million to 1.5 million subscribers currently.
Xandr, AT&T’s advanced TV/video advertising, had revenue growing 7% to $607 million in the quarter; yearly 2019 revenues were up 15% to $2.0 billion.