AT&T had a bad 2018 when it came to TV. According to reports, AT&T lost 750,000 subscribers across DIRECTV and U-Verse TV. In total AT&T has 24.5 million video subscribers including 1.6 million DIRECTV NOW subscribers. This is down from 25.2 million at the end of 2017.
This is on top of the DIRECTV NOW lost 267,000 subscribers in the 4th quarter of 2018. This is compared to the 3rd quarters of 2018 when DIRECTV NOW added 49,000 subscribers.
“Our top priority for 2018 and 2019 is reducing our debt and I couldn’t be more pleased with how we closed the year,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T chairman and CEO, said in announcing earnings. With record free cash flow in 2018 of $22.4 billion, “this momentum will carry us into 2019 allowing us to continue reducing our debt while investing in the business and continuing our strong record for paying dividends.”
Well DIRECTV NOW saw their growth slow other cord cutting services like Hulu and Netflix have reported strong growth. Hulu now has over a million live TV subscribers and Netflix added over a million new subscribers just in the United States in the 3rd quarter of 2018. So cord cutting is still strong even if live TV streaming services don’t seem to be growing as fast as cord cutting overall is. It has also been reported that YouTube TV may have also recently topped 1 million subscribers and could also be one more reason DIRECTV NOW is struggling right now.
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