Streaming services and streaming television packages have been raising prices almost unanimously lately as television networks and providers are realizing where the majority of their revenue is soon to be coming from. As a result, cord cutters have had to be pickier about the streaming video providers they subscribe to, and many have had to pare down the number of services they subscribe to. The latest victim of the ongoing streaming video price war is DIRECTV NOW, who announced this week that they lost more than 80,000 subscribers in the wake of price hikes. Ouch.
The subscriber loss was announced when AT&T reported their 2019 1st Quarter earnings. In all, AT&T brought in $8.1 billion from their various video offerings, a total which is down 1.8% from last year due to “declines in premium TV subscribers.” DIRECTV NOW specifically lost 83,000 subscribers “as the company scaled back promotions,” according to the earnings document. That puts total DIRECTV NOW subscribers at somewhere around 1.5 million.
That loss means DIRECTV NOW is likely the third largest streaming television provider behind Sling TV and Hulu with Live TV. Earlier this year, AT&T revealed that over half a million DIRECTV NOW subscribers were using promotional pricing plans and thus not full-paying subscribers. Just last month, DIRECTV NOW increased the prices of its two basic plans to $50 and $70, respectively, before add-ons or premium channels.
That price raise was accompanied by the loss of many popular DIRECTV NOW channels including those from A&E, AMC, Nick Jr., NFL Network, and Discovery – but with the addition of Boomerang. The loss of these channels coupled with the price increase was likely too much for cable cutters still deciding which streaming TV package to subscribe to.
Can DIRECTV NOW survive this major loss of subscribers? With Disney+ and Apple TV Plus on the way later this year, it’s hard to predict who will still be standing next year at this time.