AT&T TV Now basically bows out

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Q4 2020 subscriber total: 656,000

Q3 2020 subscriber total: 683,000

AT&T TV Now (formerly known as DirecTV Now) once stood at the vanguard of the U.S. vMVPD market. The high-profile launch and rapid subscriber base expansion seemingly signaled the future of linear video for AT&T.

But as the service’s pricing normalized, its subscriber gains evaporated. Earlier this year, AT&T unceremoniously stopped accepting new AT&T TV Now subscribers and folded the vMVPD into AT&T TV, its newer IP-based video product.

Then last week, after months of reports and years of speculation, AT&T sold a large minority stake in DirecTV, U-verse and AT&T TV, which were all spun off into a new company called DirecTV. AT&T will retain 70% ownership in the new entity but essentially gets to wash its hand of its struggling linear video business.

“This agreement aligns with our investment and operational focus on connectivity and content, and the strategic businesses that are key to growing our customer relationships across 5G wireless, fiber and HBO Max. And it supports our deliberate capital allocation commitment to invest in growth areas, sustain the dividend at current levels, focus on debt reduction and restructure or monetize non-core assets,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey in a statement. “As the pay TV industry continues to evolve, forming a new entity with TPG to operate the U.S. video business separately provides the flexibility and dedicated management focus needed to continue meeting the needs of a high-quality customer base and managing the business for profitability.”

AT&T TV Now basically bows out