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Published on October 24th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson

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DirecTV Now subscriber growth off 150% in 3rd quarter

AT&T announced Wednesday its streaming video service, DirecTV Now, added only 49,000 subscribers in the third quarter, a 150 percent decline from second quarter results.

DirecTV Now added 342,000 subscribers in the second quarter and 312,000 in the first quarter. Estimates now put the total number of DirecTV Now subscribers at slightly more than 1.8 million.

The numbers are a stark contrast to the strong growth the service had seen in the last year and indications cord-cutting among U.S. consumers could be slowing, changing to more on-demand content from providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, or dropping live TV entirely.

The results were played up by company executives with the positives of words like “progress” and “growth” in many other sectors of the company, but there were few ways to spin a dramatic downward change in new subscribers to its streaming service.

The company also announced it lost 359,000 DirecTV satellite customers in the quarter, solidifying comments made by Chief Executive Randall Stephenson last month that the loss-making entertainment division that holds DirecTV and Directv Now wouldn’t stabilize until next year.

AT&T’s entertainment group “continues to feel pressure” according to Jennifer Fritzche, senior analyst with Wells Fargo, who told CNBC Wednesday morning “AT&T has a lot of spinning plates”, especially after the buyout of Time Warner.

The drop in new subscribers could be the result of several factors including the ending of its nine-month-long promotion of free 32GB Apple TV 4K units with DirecTV Now service. Other reasons could include a recent DirecTV Now price hike, incredible growth in streaming services over the past year that could be slowing, and a strong economy that has possibly dissuaded some consumers from leaving traditional cable and satellite providers.

DirecTV Now launched in November 2016 using the Apple TV app. The service offers an entry-level package price of $40 per month for over 60 channels.

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About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of BESTAppleTV.com. He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as MacNN.com, MacObserver.com, MacCentral.com, MacMinute.com, and Macworld.com. He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the Associated Press and United Press International.



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