DirecTV, which AT&T is in the midst of spinning off, continues to bleed subscribers — although according to the company, the loss in the second quarter of 2021 wasn’t quite as bad as it has been in recent quarters.
AT&T revealed the subscriber numbers for its pay-TV video business in an SEC filing Friday related to new debt financing. The company, which also plans to spin off WarnerMedia and combine it with Discovery, is set to report Q2 earnings next Thursday, July 22, before the market opens.
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The company’s aggregate premium video subscriptions at the end of the second quarter of 2021, primarily comprising DirecTV along with AT&T TV and AT&T U-verse, totaled 15.412 million. That’s a decline of 2.3 million year-over-year, or 13%, from 17.712 million in Q2 2020.
That said, the Q2 loss was AT&T’s lowest quarterly drop since the fourth quarter of 2018. The company’s pay-TV subscriber net decline for the second quarter of 2021 was 473,000, an improvement of 47% from the year-ago period, when the telco shed 887,000 subs.
AT&T also said that DirecTV churn (calculated by dividing the aggregate number of subscribers who disconnected service during a month by the average number of subscribers in that month) showed “strong momentum” in the second quarter of 2021. The service’s churn rate for Q2 was 1.87%, an improvement from 2.42% in the year-earlier period.
In February, AT&T announced a deal with TPG Capital under which TPG would own a 30% stake in a newly spun-off entity comprising DirecTV and AT&T’s other U.S. pay TV businesses.
“As the pay-TV industry continues to evolve, forming a new entity with TPG to operate the U.S. video business separately provides the flexibility and dedicated management focus needed to continue meeting the needs of a high-quality customer base and managing the business for profitability,” AT&T chief John Stankey said at the time.