AT&T’s WarnerMedia saw second-quarter revenue sink a big
23%, due to lower TV network advertising sales and dismal theatrical film box-office business, due to COVID-19 disruptions.
WarnerMedia's revenue dropped to $6.8 billion for the period.
AT&T say the unit did get some benefit from lower sports, TV and film production and marketing costs. Cash flow -- earnings before interest taxes depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) -- dropped to $2.1 billion from $2.3 billion.
Concerning the future of movies in theaters, John Stankey, CEO of AT&T, in an earnings call on Thursday, says that won't be the case for two upcoming films: “Tenet” and “Wonder Woman.”
In particular, Stankey says AT&T is committed to giving “Tenet” -- an expected, big revenue producing summer film -- a theatrical release. The film has been postponed a number of times, citing pandemic issues affecting theater closings. It does not have a new release date.
WarnerMedia also notes the May launch of the premium video service HBO Max -- which incorporates the former digital streaming service HBO Now, now has 36 million subscribers. Plus, “engagement” among subscribers is higher. It didn’t go into specifics.
AT&T’s traditional pay TV services -- DirecTV, U-Verse -- continue to see big declines, losing a total of 886,000 subscribers in the second quarter, now totaling 17.7 million subscribers. The company says the new AT&T TV digital service has been offsetting some of these declines.