AT&T posted another substantial round of video subscriber losses for the fourth quarter of 2019, rounding out a year of mass erosion to its satellite TV business.
The company said it lost 945,000 premium video subscribers from its DirecTV and U-verse businesses and another 219,000 subscribers to its AT&T TV Now streaming video service. All together the company posted a net loss of 1.164 million video subscribers during the final quarter of 2019.
AT&T lost a net 3.43 million traditional video subscribers in 2019. The company now has 19.473 million traditional video subscribers, down 15% annually. The company also lost 665,000 AT&T TV Now subscribers in 2019, bringing the total down nearly 42% to 926,000.
Although AT&T’s DirecTV customer exodus is still happening at an alarming rate, the losses did show some signs of improvement over the 1.16 million premium video subscribers lost in the third quarter.
The continued video subscriber losses negatively impacted quarterly earnings for AT&T’s entertainment group. Video revenues fell 7% to about $8.07 billion and were only partially offset by a 2.7% increase in broadband revenues. Overall, the segment revenues fell 6.1% to $11.23 billion and operating income fell 9.7% to $746 million.
The WarnerMedia business also experienced a downturn during the fourth quarter, which AT&T attributed in part to forgone licensing revenue as the company gets ready to launch its HBO Max streaming service in May. Turner revenues rose 1.6% and HBO revenues rose 1.9% but Warner Bros. revenues fell 8%. Overall the segment’s revenues fell 3.3% to about $8.9 billion and operating income fell 9.5% to approximately $2.45 billion.
AT&T's consolidated revenues for the fourth quarter totaled $46.8 billion, down from $48 billion in the year-ago quarter. Operating income was $5.3 billion versus $6.2 billion, which the company said was partly due to a $1.3 billion write-off of certain copper facilities.