AT&T lost 620,000 video subscribers in the first quarter of 2021, continuing a declining trend that’s been in effect for some time now. At one point, AT&T TV Now was one of the leading live TV streaming services with close to two million subscribers. Since then, AT&T Now has been folded into AT&T TV, and the company no longer even declares how many consumers are signed up to AT&T TV, let alone AT&T TV Now.
AT&T TV NOW has spent the last couple of years in a continued state of decline. Although the service stopped accepting new subscribers at the start of 2021, it had lost 27,000 subscribers during the final three months of 2020. This followed a decline of 37,000 subscribers during the third quarter of last year, and 68,000 subscribers during the second quarter of 2020. AT&T TV Now was not alone in losses either. For example, AT&T reported an overall loss of 617,000 premium TV subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2020.
AT&T TV today released its first quarter of 2021 results, confirming a decline of 620,000 video subscribers during the three-month period. This takes the total number of existing premium TV customers to just under 15.9 million, as of March 31, 2021. This is down from the almost 18.6 million premium TV subscribers the company reported for the same quarter a year before.
Although this represents another decline in users, it is an improvement year over year. For example, during the first quarter of 2020, the company reported a decline of almost 900,000 subscribers. Still, that’s when taking into account all of the subscribers to all of the company’s premium video services.
How AT&T’s reporting has changed
AT&T owns multiple video-related businesses, including AT&T TV, DirecTV, U-verse, and HBO Max. Furthermore, AT&T was split into the two-year contract customers and the no-contract AT&T TV Now customers. While the Now side of the business is still operational for existing subscribers, it is no longer open to new customers. This also now appears to have affected AT&T’s reporting, considering it is no longer declaring specific customer losses for the Now service. In fact, AT&T no longer appears to be reporting figures for this AT&T TV business in general.
Due to this, the 620,000 decline relates to the total number of subscriber losses for all of its video-related businesses, excluding the likes of HBO Max. This makes it all the more harder to focus on AT&T TV and see how it is performing against Hulu Live TV, Sling TV, YouTube TV, and the rest. Although, the change is also likely to be indicative of AT&T TV’s performance in general.
Part of the reason for this change in reporting is likely to be the deal AT&T recently struct with TPG Capital. The deal sees the formation of a new “New DirecTV” entity that will own and operate the company’s video businesses, including DirecTV, U-verse, and AT&T TV. The deal is expected to fully close in the second half of 2021.