AT&T: We pulled back on DirecTV Now promotion in Q1 to let platform ‘mature’

DirecTV Now HBO (AT&T)

After aggressively touting the addition of 200,000 DirecTV Now subscribers in the first month of the virtual pay-TV service alone, AT&T somewhat conspicuously didn’t reveal how many customers the service added in its first full quarter.

AT&T only said that DirecTV Now customer additions in the first quarter “offset” losses on the linear side, with 233,000 lost pay-TV souls all attributed to the legacy U-verse platform (with DirecTV satellite flat for the quarter).

RELATED: Sling TV ended Q1 with 1.3M subs, Dish is reportedly telling Wall Street


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“We deliberately pulled back on marketing to see the platform mature and improve,” said AT&T CFO John Stephens, speaking to analysts during the company's Q1 earnings call earlier this week. “And we’re seeing just that.”

RELATED: AT&T loses 233K video subs in Q1 as U-verse continues cratering and DirecTV flatlines

Indeed, DirecTV Now endured a flurry of bad press in January regarding technical issues—news of which has since quieted down. 

AT&T indicated during the call that it will ramp up promotion of the virtual service in Q2.

“You should expect us to be more aggressive with DirecTV Now in the second half of the year, with additional features and content,” Stephens added. “Last week we added 14 FOX affiliates to DirecTV Now. You should expect we will be targeting those cities with additional marketing. We're still only five months since the DirecTV Now launch, but we like what we see and feel very good about the service and where it's headed.”

It’s worth noting, however, that during the second quarter, DirecTV Now will also be competing with the just-launched YouTube TV, as well as Hulu’s soon-to-launch virtual pay-TV service. 

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