2019 was a very bad year for cable TV owners. We are now getting an idea of just how bad it was. We learned that AT&T lost over 4 million TV subscribers in 2019 when looking at DIRECTV, U-Verse TV, and AT&T TV NOW.
AT&T has been excitedly pointing out that losses slowed slightly in the fourth quarter of 2019 but many argue that this was more of just a normal seasonal adjustment because AT&T still lost over 1 million TV subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2019.
AT&T announced that they believe that AT&T TV and HBO Max will offset the losses seen by their traditional pay-TV services in 2020.
Both COO John Stankey and CEO Randall Stephenson said that HBO Max is a critical factor in the success of the company moving forward. We know about plans for bundling the service, and AT&T is banking on that subscriber base growing for HBO Max to become profitable within the next five years. To do that, the streaming service would need to grow from the 10 million HBO subscribers that will have immediate access to HBO Max at launch to 75–90 million subscribers by 2025.
As the company invests heavily in these two services, Stankey said they will also be shifting their focus with TNT and TBS. HBO Max will be the home of scripted content, while TNT and TBS will air more unscripted content including sports and “content that’s more socially relevant.”
“To keep the networks relevant, we will continue to invest in them,” Stankey said. “We’ll continue to make sure that they’re viable for our distributors, but you’ll see a content shift start to occur.”
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