Subscriber declines at AT&T’s virtual MVPD DirecTV Now slowed down in the first quarter, but the company still lost a net 83,000 streaming TV subscribers.
With the loss, DirecTV Now ended the quarter with slightly more than 1.5 million subscribers, which marks 2.8% growth year over year. This quarter’s losses seem much more manageable than the 267,000 subscribers DirecTV Now lost in the previous quarter, when the end of promotional pricing caused steep declines. But the net loss of 83,000 this quarter is in stark relief with the 312,000 DirecTV Now subscribers added during the year-ago quarter.
As DirecTV Now subscriber losses scaled back, DirecTV (combined with U-verse) subscriber counts continued to evaporate. AT&T reported a net loss of 544,000 traditional video subscribers during the quarter, bringing the company’s total down to 22.36 million (down 6.5% year over year).
In all, AT&T’s total net video losses during the quarter totaled 627,000.
AT&T’s Entertainment Group – which includes its pay TV, streaming, broadband and voice services – held mostly steady during the quarter with revenues totaling $11.33 billion, down less than 1% year over year. Video revenues fell 1.8% to $8.07 billion, broadband revenues rose 10.2% to $2.07 billion, and voice revenues fell 15.3% to $683 million. But operating income for the segment rose nearly 13% to $1.48 billion as margins improved and expenses declined.
AT&T’s WarnerMedia segment – which houses Turner, HBO, Warner Bros., AT&T’s regional sports networks, Otter Media – has still not reached a point of year over year comparisons for the company. AT&T acquired Time Warner in late 2018. But the company did provide some pro forma growth figures for WarnerMedia that showed revenues up 3.3% year over year, operating expenses up 0.6% year over year and operating income up 11.6% year over year.
WarnerMedia reported total operating revenues of $8.38 billion, comprised of $3.37 billion in subscription revenue, $1.28 billion in advertising revenue and $3.73 billion in content licensing and other revenue. The segment’s operating expenses totaled approximately $6.14 billion, leaving about $2.24 billion in operating income for the quarter.