AT&T lost 1 million video subscribers in Q1

DirecTV rooftop satellite dish
Video revenues still make up the bulk of AT&T’s entertainment group earnings. (DirecTV)

AT&T has posted its first-quarter earnings and once again video subscriber losses for the operator have soared past the one million mark.

The company lost 897,000 premium video subscribers – from its DirecTV and U-verse services – and another 138,000 AT&T TV Now subscribers, totaling 1.035 million subscribers lost. The decrease is 65.1% more than the 627,000 net subscribers lost in the same quarter of 2019.

AT&T closed out the quarter with approximately 18.58 million premium video subscribers and 788,000 AT&T TV Now subscribers. AT&T TV Now has lost roughly half of its subscribers over the past year. The company said that its video subscriber base continues to diminish as the company focuses on keeping its long-term value customers. During the quarter, AT&T launched its new AT&T TV service nationwide, which will be its primary linear TV service instead of DirecTV and U-verse.

RELATED: AT&T lost 1.16 million video subscribers in Q4

Video revenues still make up the bulk of AT&T’s entertainment group earnings. However, video revenues for the first quarter fell 8.4% to about $7.4 billion while high-speed internet revenues reported a modest 1.9% increase.

As total operating revenues fell for the segment, so too did operating income, which fell 9.7% to about $1.3 billion.

At WarnerMedia – which houses the Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. businesses – total segment revenues were down 12.2% as HBO’s mostly flat performance was offset by declines at Turner and Warner Bros. The segment was deeply impacted by the loss of revenue associated with the cancelation of the 2020 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament along with the TV and film production hiatus at Warner Bros. caused by the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The COVID pandemic had a 5 cents per share impact on our first quarter. Without it, the quarter was about what we expected — strong wireless numbers that covered the HBO Max investment, and produced stable EBITDA and EBITDA margins,” said AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson in a statement.