AT&T Loses Another 1 Million TV Customers As Cord Cutting (And Greed) Take A Toll

from the not-the-sort-of-death-star-we-planned dept

2019 saw a record number of consumers ditch traditional cable television. 2020 was already poised to be even worse, and that was before a pandemic came to town. The pandemic not only sidelined live sports (one of the last reasons many subscribe to traditional cable in the first place), it put an additional strain on many folks' wallets, resulting cord cutting spiking even higher.

Among the hardest hit continues to be AT&T, whose customers have been fleeing hand over fist even with AT&T's attempt to pivot to streaming video. According to AT&T's latest earnings report, the company lost yet another 954,000 pay TV subscribers -- 886,000 from the company's traditional DirecTV and IPTV television offerings, and another 68,000 customers from the company's creatively named AT&T TV Now streaming video platform. All told, the losses left AT&T with 18.4 million video customers, including both Premium TV and AT&T TV Now, down from nearly 25.5 million in mid-2018.

That's a fairly amazing face plant for a company that spent more than $150 billion on megamergers (DirecTV in 2015, Time Warner in 2018) in a bid to dominate the pay TV sector. The problem is the deals saddled AT&T with an absolute mountain of debt, which the company then attempted to extract from its customers in the form of relentless price hikes. During an economic crisis and pandemic:

"Higher prices helped drive the customer losses. As it has in past quarters, AT&T said its practice of giving out fewer promotional-pricing deals contributed to the customer losses for AT&T TV Now. AT&T said the Premium TV loss was "due to competition as well as lower gross adds from the continued focus on adding higher-value customers."

While AT&T executives are trying to pretend this was all part of some master strategy to only retain higher-revenue subscribers, this is absolutely not the sort of sector domination company executives originally envisioned. The entire point of releasing a cheaper streaming TV service is to lure cost-conscious customers fleeing traditional cable. Raising rates relentlessly sort of defeats that purpose. The company also managed to shoot itself in the foot with such a bizarre array of discordant TV brand offerings, it, at one point, managed to confuse the company's own employees.

Even AT&T's investors (who usually adore megamergers) balked at the company's spending spree and sloppy execution, and for months rumors have indicated that AT&T could wind up selling DirecTV for a pittance. Overall, just another day for a telecom and media sector that's utterly obsessed with mindless merger mania and growth for growth's sake, even when it makes absolutely no sense.

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Filed Under: competition, cord cutting, fees, john stankey, tv
Companies: at&t

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  1. icon
    ECA (profile), 31 Jul 2020 @ 1:42pm

    Old but worth it,.

    At the time the 5 highest paid TV execs.. ecommunications-sector-s-t.asp#:~:text=Randall%20L.&text=As%20the%20CEO%20of%20AT%26T,stock%20aw ards%20and%20other%20compensation.

    And the ATT list of exec's and the money, not Stocks.

    Cash = ~ 104 million just the top execs..
    4 million for the board.

    150 billion?? How in hell can you Figure this amount spent? Even with 25 million subscribers. your profit from the subscribers would need to be $100+ per person to get even Close to paying it down yearly.

    And if we believe what we are told, that cable pays for every channel, so they have to Charge for every channel..It would be a con, to add more channels to Seem like you are getting more, but you arnt.
    Its asif they are charging $1 per channel, but you dont watch all of them all the time, and you CANT watch them all.. and in many cases you cant even record the ones you WOULD LIKE to watch, while watching another that you WANT to watch.

    We can bring up the Old list of the channel prices, but as I show my family members.. 200 channels, mark off the ones you dont watch. religion? Sports? News? Justice? Cartoons? Now look at the list and figure whats left you WOULD watch every day IF' you could. and you end up with about 20 channels.. ANd at $1 per channel, I WOULD NOT MIND, paying $20.

    I think Much of their problems end up being contracts like ESPN, over charging Everyone, including those that DONT watch ESPN programs. Even looking at the internet, and how much Some of these channels WANT you to pay, shows the problem Cable/sat has with the contracts.

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