AT&T pre­dicts ma­jor losses as TV provider shares drop

The Columbus Dispatch - - Market Summary -

NEW YORK — Signs that more peo­ple are drop­ping their tra­di­tional TV sub­scrip­tions weighed on TV providers’ stocks Thurs­day.

AT&T said it lost 90,000 video sub­scribers in the U. S. in the third quar­ter. It’s a steeper drop than the same pe­riod last year, even though gains from its newer, cheaper on­line cable- like ser­vice, DirecTV Now, are in­cluded. DirecTV Now wasn’t avail­able in the July- Septem­ber quar­ter in 2016.

DirecTV Now added 300,000 sub­scribers in the quar­ter, so AT&T lost about 390,000 satel­lite TV and cable cus­tomers.

AT&T, which is also the No. 2 wire­less car­rier in the U.S., blames tough com­pe­ti­tion from both tra­di­tional TV providers like Com­cast and newer dig­i­tal- video ser­vices like YouTube TV. It also blames the im­pact from hur­ri­canes and stricter credit stan­dards for cus­tomers.

AT&T’s pre­dic­tion, is­sued af­ter the mar­ket closed Wed­nes­day, echoed Com­cast’s fore­cast in early Septem­ber of third- quar­ter losses of 100,000 to 150,000 video cus­tomers. That would be Com­cast’s largest quar­terly loss since 2014. Com­cast also blamed com­pe­ti­tion and weather.

Ris­ing prices for tra­di­tional TV bun­dles and those grow­ing dig­i­tal op­tions are in­creas­ingly driv­ing cus­tomers on­line and away from tra­di­tional TV.

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