Enlarge /. The AT&T logo and share price will be displayed on a monitor on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday, January 22, 2019.
AT&T lost 627,000 TV customers in the third quarter of 2020. This is an improvement over the previous quarters as the company continues to seek to sell its failing DirecTV division.
In the results reported today, AT&T said it had lost 590,000 "Premium TV" customers. This category includes DirecTV Satellite, U-Verse Wireline TV, and the online service AT&T TV. AT&T also lost 37,000 customers from AT&T TV Now, the streaming service formerly known as DirecTV Now.
The premium TV loss of 590,000 subscribers in the third quarter is the best result since AT&T lost 544,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2019. AT & T's premium TV losses were between the second quarter of 2019 and the second In the first quarter of 2020, between 778,000 and 1.16 million customers per quarter. AT&T currently has 17.1 million premium TV customers out of over 25 million in early 2017.
"The decline is a significant improvement over last year's trends," said John Stephens, CFO of AT&T, in an interview with investors today.
Losing 37,000 subscribers to AT&T TV Now's streaming service was also an improvement, but AT&T is running out of subscribers to lose in this segment. The service has 683,000 subscribers from the 1.86 million it had two years ago.
DirecTV still needs a buyer
AT & T's massive TV losses spurred an ongoing attempt to sell DirecTV, which the company bought for $ 49 billion in 2015. The first deals on DirecTV reportedly valued the satellite TV unit at around $ 15.75 billion. There have been no major updates since the New York Post reported two weeks ago that AT&T "invited a handful of bidders to the second round of an auction for the struggling satellite television network."
The AT&T TV streaming service, which mimics cable TV with hidden fees, contracts and big price hikes in its second year, is apparently better than DirecTV. AT&T does not report customer losses for any service in the Premium TV category, but said gains at AT&T TV helped offset the customer losses at DirecTV and U-verse.
AT&T attributed the net loss of 590,000 customers to "lower churn and [a] higher quality base," meaning fewer people stopped service and the customers who stayed pay more than those who left. In the most recent quarter, average revenue per user for AT&T Premium TV increased from $ 124.98 to $ 130.55 per month.