AT&T Loses 89,000 Video Subscribers, Fewer Than Expected

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AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson

The company said it ended the third quarter with 25.1 million subscribers, which is down less than 1 percent from last year.

AT&T, which owns DirecTV and is trying to merge with Time Warner, said it lost 89,000 video subscribers in the latest quarter.

The loss was actually positive news for the telecommunications company, given it had already pre-announced it would lose about 90,000 video subscribers due to cord-cutting and recent hurricanes.

The company said that it gained almost 300,000 subscribers at its DirecTV Now video-streaming product, while it lost 385,000 at its traditional TV business. Nevertheless, AT&T's entertainment group managed to grow video revenue 2 percent in the quarter.

The company said it ended the third quarter with 25.1 million subscribers, which is down less than 1 percent from last year. DirecTV Now accounts for 800,000 of those subscribers.

Overall, AT&T reported earnings of an adjusted 74 cents a share on revenue of $39.7 billion. Both numbers were slightly lower than Wall Street expected, and the stock was down 1 percent in after-hours trading after falling 1 percent during the regular session.

On Monday, AT&T and Time Warner extended their deadline for merging, given regulators have yet to approve the $85 billion deal. Once the deal closes, AT&T's head of entertainment John Stankey will run Time Warner.

"We look forward to closing our acquisition of Time Warner and bringing together premium content with world-class distribution to deliver a better entertainment experience for consumers and more effective targeted advertising," AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday.

"We're also on track to have one of the largest high-speed internet networks in the U.S., reaching more than 50 million customer locations with competitive high speeds. This expansion will make our bundled video, mobile and broadband services even more compelling," the exec added. 

Oct. 24, 1:52 p.m. Copy and headline updated with a larger loss of subscribers.

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