AT&T results miss estimates as pay-TV competition rises

26 October, 2017, 12:23 | Author: Sammy Rose
  • AT&T results miss estimates as pay-TV competition rises

The battle for the growing market in providing video entertainment on phones has taken on greater importance as AT&T slugs it out with industry leader Verizon Communications Inc and smaller rivals Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc for customers in a saturated wireless market. But the company gained 130,000 post-paid phone subscribers, or customers who pay at the end of the month and typically boast higher credit scores and more expensive bills.

AT&T, which owns DirecTV and is trying to merge with Time Warner, said it lost 85,000 video subscribers in the latest quarter. "DirecTV is now losing subscribers, compounding rather than offsetting the decline at U-verse".

At Sept. 30, 2017, AT&T had 25.08 million video subscribers in the USA, including 787,000 for DirecTV Now.

On the company's quarterly conference call, AT&T's Chief Financial Officer John Stephens said once the deal with Time Warner closes, the company is planning to build out new services and platforms to complement its bundling strategy, according to a FactSet transcript.

"Since then, declines in the broader pay-TV distribution sector have accelerated from 1.4 percent per year to what we forecast will be ~3.4 percent this quarter", Moffett said in the note.

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As previously reported by the company, AT&T had heavy linear video subscriber losses for the third quarter of 2017, losing 385,000 in total, but showed strong gains for its virtual DirecTV Now platform.

Overall for the third quarter ended 30 September 2017, the comms giant posted consolidated revenues of $39.7 billion, $1.2 billion down on the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share of 74 cents were unchanged from 2016 and a penny less than analysts expected.

Roughly 26% of AT&T's traditional TV subscribers also have wireless, up from 22% during the same quarter in 2015, said Macquarie analyst Amy Yong.

In the same filing, AT&T also reported 900,000 fewer handset equipment upgrades than in the year-ago period, which negatively impacted wireless equipment revenue.

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