DirecTV Now, AT&T’s streaming video app, has seen sharp customer declines in recent months that all but wiped out a year’s worth of subscriber growth, according to the company’s latest earnings report.
Streaming TV providers like YouTube TV, DirecTV Now and Hulu with Live TV lured users with digital “skinny bundles” that were cheaper than cable. Now, many are raising prices. The latest is Google’s YouTube TV, whose price just shot up to $50.
DirecTV Now used to start at $40 a month. The cheapest for new customers will now be $50. Packages will now include the AT&T-owned HBO, but the service is dropping some popular lifestyle and entertainment networks not owned by AT&T, including HGTV, Discovery, Food Network and MTV.
Watching popular TV shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones has become so easy online that millions are not only logging in to a plethora of new services, they’re also paying for it — including 2.2 million subscribers at Sling TV, parent Dish Network revealed for the first time Wednesday.
AT&T’s CEO touted the upcoming next-generation version of DirecTV Now, set to debut this spring, as a way to open up a new market for the vMVPD service. “With new functionality, we think we can get higher penetration,” Randall Stephenson said during the company’s 4Q earnings call Wednesday. “We’re actually very bullish on DirecTV Now. We’re convinced the economics will continue to improve as we move over the next couple of years.”