Imagine losing a cable customer base the size of Arlington. That's what AT&T expects
12 October 2017, 10:33 | Hattie Nash
Analyst: 'Wheels falling off satellite TV'
AT&T (T) said Wednesday that it lost 90,000 video subscribers in the U.S.in the third quarter, a steeper drop than the same period previous year. The decline, its third quarterly drop in a row, came despite almost 300,000 new accounts on its DirecTV Now service, which streams channels over the internet.
AT&T said it added roughly 300,000 subscribers to DirecTV Now, its cheaper option for customers who want to stream television over the internet. AT&T had 25.2 million video subscribers at the end of the second quarter.
"It should be clear that DirecTV, like all of its cable peers, is suffering from the ravages of cord-cutting", said Craig Moffett, analyst at MoffettNathanson, in an email. DirecTV and Comcast are seeing and responding to the same secular pressures.
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Despite that, it left its full-year guidance unchanged.
But natural disasters couldn't account for all of the problems in the video business.
AT&T, which is also the No. 2 wireless carrier in the USA, blames tough competition from both traditional TV providers like Comcast and newer digital-video services like YouTube TV.
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The announcement weighed on other stocks in the sector, with shares of Dish Network Corp, Charter Communications Inc, Comcast Corp and Altice USA Inc trading lower.
AT&T has also attracted DirecTV Now subscribers with free promotions and deep discounts.
MoffettNathanson believes the weakness in AT&T's pay-TV numbers shines a new light on the spate of aggressive promotions at AT&T, notably that nearly all of them appear to be centred on bundling, with the benefit seemingly toward bolstering video metrics at DirecTV.