Today AT&T announced that AT&T TV NOW lost 195,000 subscribers in the third quarter of 2019. This is up from the 168,000 subscribers DIRECTV NOW (now called AT&T TV NOW) lost in the second quarter of this year and the third consecutive quarter in which AT&T has lost subscribers on its live TV streaming service. DIRECTV NOW has lost 713,000 subscribers since the start of the fourth quarter of 2018. This puts DIRECTV NOW in fourth or maybe even fifth place as popular live TV streaming service, which is down from second place this time last year.
In total AT&T lost 1,358,000 traditional pay-TV subscribers in the third quarter of 2019 when you count losses from DIRECTV, U-verse TV, and AT&T TV NOW. This means AT&T is losing over 19,836 subscribers every single day. This is up from the same time in 2018 when AT&T lost just 297,000 TV subscribers.
AT&T had said during the first quarter of 2019 that they expect DIRECTV NOW (now called AT&T TV NOW) to gain subscribers in the second half of 2019, but that has not happened. Later AT&T warned that AT&T TV NOW’s subscriber numbers would continue to fall through 2019 with the goal of seeing numbers grow in 2020. Now AT&T says that the loss of AT&T TV NOW subscribers was because of “higher prices and less promotional activity.” AT&T went on to blame the subscriber losses for DIRECTV and U-verse TV on “customers rolling off promotional discounts, programmer disputes and competition as well as lower gross adds due to the continued focus on adding higher value customers.”
AT&T did add 119,000 new internet customers to help offset the losses in pay-TV subscribers. AT&T now has $158,000,000,000 in net debt.
The drop in new subscribers is likely caused by several factors like increased competition from new live TV streaming services, AT&T TV NOW’s recent price hike, fewer deals on AT&T TV NOW, and a lack of promotion of AT&T TV NOW overall. You also likely have to point to some general confusion over the new name that may be a factor in the drop in subscriber numbers.
Other cord cutting services like Hulu and YouTube TV have seen strong growth. Hulu has over 2 million live TV subscribers and YouTube TV has close to 2 million subscribers.