DirecTV Now Lost 267K Subscribers Last Quarter, Partly Due to End of Apple TV Offer

DirecTV Now today reported that it lost 267,000 subscribers during the fourth quarter of 2018, causing the service to dip from 1.8 million subscribers in Q1 2018 to 1.6 million in Q4 (via TechCrunch). Despite the decline, DirecTV Now is still at the forefront of the streaming TV market, second to SlingTV as of last fall.


In AT&T's fourth quarter earnings report, the company attributed this loss to the closure of several discount bundles that were heavily featured on the service's website, and shared online. This includes the popular Apple TV bundle (which expired in June 2018) and a few Roku deals.
The company attributed the decline to the end of promotional package pricing, which sometimes saw the service priced as low as $10 per month for an introductory period. It had also offered device giveaways – like Roku streaming sticks or Apple TV boxes – to encourage sign-ups.

AT&T says its “discounted introductory offers ended,” which resulted in the dramatic loss.
At its peak, the DirecTV Now deal for Apple TV required you to prepay for three months of the streaming TV service for about $105. Once you did this, AT&T would send you a 32GB Apple TV 4K at no cost. In essence, customers were paying $105 for a 32GB Apple TV 4K, down from around $170, and getting three months to try out DirecTV Now as a bonus.

Of course, you could still cancel DirecTV Now before those three months ended and not pay to continue using the service, and it appears that's what many people did last year. Although DirecTV Now has a large channel lineup, it also has numerous problems with its service, which also likely led to subscriber churn noted in this week's earnings report. This includes a barebones cloud DVR with low storage and unreliable recordings, various performance issues, outages, and more.

AT&T also raised the price of DirecTV Now last summer, increasing every tier by $5/month to stay "in line with the market." This increased DirecTV Now's "Live a Little" plan from $35/month to $40/month, matching rival services like Hulu with Live TV, which starts at $40/month, and YouTube TV, which also raised to $40/month to compete with Hulu.

Although many were hoping that the Apple TV offer would return in the fall of 2018 as it did years prior, AT&T never resurfaced the deal.



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20 weeks ago

AT&T says its "discounted introductory offers ended," which resulted in the dramatic loss.

This is common among all cable carriers. They lure you in with introductory pricing, and then jack your rates come year two or three. There’s no reward for loyalty, and fortunately, most people know it. I have no television in my house, but my father will cancel and switch providers every year to avoid the price increases.

This is simply what happens when you chase short-term profits and treat your customers like cattle. Any company that engages in these sort of practices will get what they deserve.
Rating: 10 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Also partly due to DirectNow being terrible.
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 weeks ago
I am one of those who took advantage of the offer and then canceled. I'll do it again when the offer it again. I could use one or two more Apple TVs.
Rating: 5 Votes
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20 weeks ago

I signed up and got the Apple TV 4K. I had it for a year and the DVR is garbage. Like not even Beta ready. I just switched over to Spectrum streaming package since I have there internet. DVR was replaced with On Demand.

But with "On Demand" don't you have to sit through commercials? I can't go back to watching commercials.
Rating: 4 Votes
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20 weeks ago
I was one of them, was a hell of a deal on apple tv 4k

kept PS Vue instead
Rating: 3 Votes
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20 weeks ago
AT&T is the worst!
Rating: 3 Votes
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20 weeks ago
Having satellite was never a requirement
Rating: 3 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Why do you say this?


I'm not who you replied to, but I've been beta testing a first party "DirecTV Now" box that's built by AT&T and running Android TV. I can only imagine that doesn't bode well for them bringing back the Apple TV offer.



Rating: 3 Votes
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20 weeks ago

Thats not true. I tried to get DirectTV Now and was informed by them I had to have a Dirtect TV Satellite package.


It sounds like you got some bad information - AT&T's most recent ad campaign for it even mentioned "no satellite dish" because of the confusion. Plus, I know four people who still have it and none have had DirecTV (I was the exception - moved into a location where I couldn't keep my dish, figured I'd wait out the two months until the DTV Now launch and then signed up).

Did you go to an AT&T store? I know there was awhile that there was a big push to get traditional DirecTV numbers up, so it may have been someone trying to "encourage" you into that product.

It even says so on the main page: https://www.directvnow.com/
Rating: 2 Votes
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20 weeks ago
I didn't get in on these deals but I am a recent cablecutter (leaving DirecTV satellite) in a house of 6. My challenge is my mom (74, very tech-resistant) is still in the house so I need something with a usable UI. DirecTV Now does not fill that need, plus the DVR performance is crap. Their main benefit was a huge discount on HBO compared to everyone else.

I've been testing Hulu Live TV and very much like it so far. The fact that everyone gets a personal profile really helps with family uptake of a new service. They also have HGTV (which Youtube TV does not).

I still feel like these services need to be more wife-friendly. Upcharge me $20/mo more to add a selection of HGTV/DIY/Cooking/Food/etc, and I am happy to move over. I still feel like most of the options are too tech-centric and too focused on youngin's and men to be readily fully adopted by families.
Rating: 2 Votes
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