AT&T is implementing another round of price hikes for DirecTV and U-verse.
If reports that the company is exploring selling a minority stake in those two platforms and AT&T Now are accurate, upping the platforms' ARPUs probably couldn't hurt.
AT&T — which owns the TimeWarner networks — cited network owners’ increased licensing fees for the platforms’ broadcasting of sports, shows and movies as the reason for the price increases.
DirecTV’s Minimum service, Family and ChineseDirect Plus plan prices are not being increased, but other packages’ monthly prices will rise by $1 to $9 per month in the U.S. starting January 17, 2021.
The Basic Choice and Preferred Choice packages will rise by $1 and $3, respectively.
The 160-channel Entertainment package, now $97 per month, will rise by $5; and the 185-channel Choice package, now $115, will rise by $7. The 250-channel Ultimate and 330-chanel Premier packages, currently $142 and $197, respectively, will each get $9 hikes. Xtra packages are going up by $8, and Spanish-language ones by $6.
Those currently on promotional price deals don’t see price hikes until those deals expire.
The prices for premium adds-ons Cinemax, Showtime and Starz, and some add-on bundles that include sports channels, are being decreased by $3.
But other options with premium add-ons are increasing, including a $2.96 price hike for an add-on bundle that includes HBO Max, Starz, Showtime and Cinemax.
AT&T is not increasing its regional sports network and broadcast TV fees, which were raised a year ago.
AT&T will also raise the prices of U-verse packages, other than the basic one, by $5 to $9 per month.
AT&T is also shifting from charging a “Federal Cost Recovery Fee” on an annual basis to charging $0.19 per month. That fee is not one mandated by the federal government; it is one charged by the services in order to recoup various fees they pay to the FCC.
AT&T has long been expected to sell DirecTV, which has continued to lose subscribers.
CNBC recently reported that AT&T has been talking with Apollo Management and other private equity firms about possibly selling significant minority stakes in DirecTV, AT&T Now and U-verse.
In August, the Wall Street Journal reported that AT&T was exploring a DirecTV-only sale with Apollo and other PE firms, with a value possibly as low as $20 billion. Last month, the New York Post claimed that AT&T was talking with the PE firms about a “fire sale” of DirecTV for roughly $15.75 billion.