AT&T just announced a massive overhaul to its DirecTV streaming service that increases prices $10 a month and drops certain channels from the bundle.
The changes could lead DirecTV to lose 822,000 subscribers in 2019, or half its customer base, say UBS analysts.
Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV could benefit as customers leave DirecTV Now.
AT&T just announced a massive overhaul to its DirecTV streaming service, shrinking its four packages to two, dropping certain channels from its bundle, and increasing prices $10 a month. The changes could cut DirecTV’s already-declining subscriber base, according to UBS analysts.
DirecTV Now was the second biggest vMVPD at the end of 2018, with 1.6 million subscribers. It could lose half its subscribers this year, shedding 822,000, UBS analysts predicted in a research note.
Such a change would shrink it below 1 million subscribers and into fourth behind Sling TV, Hulu with Live TV, and Youtube TV.
The new packages unveiled on Wednesday are $50-a-month DirecTV Now Plus and $70-a-month DirecTV Now Max. Both will include HBO, while AT&T is cutting A&E, AMC, Discovery, and Viacom from its bundles. And the DirecTV Plus option will no longer include regional sports networks. In addition, existing DirecTV Now customer will play $15 a month for HBO and $11 a month for Cinemax, which were previously offered for $5 a month.
DirecTV will likely push consumers who want a fuller channel package to take a core satellite-based package versus DirecTV Now, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield wrote in a note.
But subscribers are sure to flee DirecTV and Hulu with Live TV and YouTube TV could be the beneficiaries of DirecTV’s pricing increases, Greenfield told Business Insider. Hulu Live is $45 a month and YouTube TV is $40 a month. Most notably, both services offer regional sports networks.
The changes to DirecTV’s streaming service follow months of AT&T pledging to focus on profitability in its entertainment group in 2019.
DirecTV has been unprofitable on a gross sub basis from day one, but the price incentives they provided allowed the company to quickly grow its subscriber base, Greenfield wrote. Profitability will likely improve as the company now has lower programming costs as it drops certain channels and increases the cost of the service.
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