AT&T reported the loss of 240,000 U-verse television subscribers in the last quarter of 2015. In the same period it added 214,000 satellite television subscribers in the United States through DIRECTV, which it acquired in July. AT&T ended 2015 with a total of 25.4 million television subscribers in the United States, a net quarterly decline of 26,000. Including international operations, its total television subscribers declined by 60,000 in the quarter to total of 37.9 million.
AT&T said it had focussed on profitability and increasing satellite sales, including U-verse subscribers switching to satellite.
“Our DirecTV integration is going well, and the customer response to our new integrated mobile and entertainment offers is strong,” announced Randall Stephenson, the chief executive of AT&T. He said the company plans to launch “a variety of new video entertainment packages that give customers even more choices”.
DIRECTV reported a year on year increase in gross subscriber additions of 20% in December, signing up over 350,000 television customers in that month alone, with a net gain of 214,000 over the last quarter.
The losses of 240,000 U-verse television subscribers resulted in a consolidated net loss of 26,000 video customers.
It was the third consecutive quarterly loss of AT&T U-verse television customers, which declined by 92,000 in the third quarter and 23,000 the previous quarter, following an unbroken growth since the service launched.
As a result, U-Verse has fallen behind the rival Verizon Fios television service in the informitv Multiscreen Index, although with its consolidated subscriber numbers it is the largest pay-television operator in the world. Verizon reported a gain of 20,000 television customers in the last quarter of 2015, taking its total to 5.83 million.
AT&T reported 15.8 million broadband connections, including 13.3 million U-verse customers. The total number of broadband subscribers declined by 4,000 in the quarter.
DIRECTV ended 2015 with 568,000 fewer television subscribers in the United States than at the start of the year. This was apparently partly due to a change in the way AT&T accounts for commercial customers.
At the end of 2015, DIRECTV had 12.5 million video customers in Latin America, including 5.4 million in Brazil, representing a net loss of 34,000 video customers.
There has been speculation that AT&T could sell off its DIRECTV assets in Latin America, to focus on the United States.