AT&T stays steady in Q4 but haemorrhages video subs | Major Businesses | Business
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Skinny TV operator DirecTV Now saw 267,000 subscribers walk away in the fourth quarter of 2018, which contributed to a loss of 658,000 video subscribers overall for US telco AT&T (including DirecTV satellite and U-verse).

att 31 jan 2019This represents the largest subscriber loss for AT&T in three years. Worse, one year ago, DirecTV Now gained 368,00 subscribers, making for a Q4 swing of negative 635,000. All told, the streaming service had approximately 1.6 million subscribers at the end of 2018, down from 1.86 million at the end of Q3.

AT&T saw $47.99 billion in revenue with adjusted earnings per share of 86 cents; that’s largely in line with analyst expectations of $48.5 billion in revenue and earnings per share of 86 cents. Revenue was up 15.2% year-over-year, mainly due to AT&T’s acquisition of Time Warner.

“Our top priority for 2018 and 2019 is reducing our debt and I couldn’t be more pleased with how we closed the year,” said AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson. “In 2018, we generated record free cash flow while investing at near-record levels. Our dividend payout as a percent of free cash flow was 46% for the quarter and 60% for the year, allowing us to increase the dividend for the 35th consecutive year.”

He added, “This momentum will carry us into 2019 allowing us to continue reducing our debt while investing in the business and continuing our strong record for paying dividends.”