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Spun Off DirecTV Platforms Lost a Combined 412,000 Subscribers in Q3, Analyst Projects

DirecTV satellite dish
(Image credit: DirecTV)

The DirecTV-branded pay TV platforms spun off by AT&T into a joint venture with private equity firm TPG in August lost a combined 412,000 subscribers in the third quarter, Leichtman Research Group estimates. 

Starting with its own third quarter earnings report, AT&T no longer reports subscriber metrics for DirecTV satellite TV, DirecTV Stream (formerly AT&T TV) and AT&T U-verse TV (which is no longer sold to new customers). 

Overall, the top U.S. pay TV operators lost a combined 650,000 customers in Q3, with Comcast, which bled 407,000 subscribers, experiencing the second most heaviest losses. 

The virtual MVPD category actually saw solid growth in the third quarter, with Hulu + Live TV adding 300,000 customers, and Sling TV (+117,000) and fuboTV (+262,884) up, as well. Leichtman didn't render an estimate for category leader YouTube TV.

LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman told Next TV that while YouTube TV parent only sporadically releases vMVPD customer metrics, AT&T's copious data on DirecTV and AT&T TV in the run-up to the spinoff provided a sound foundation to render an estimate. 

The cable sector, however, experienced accelerated losses of over 700,000 customers, compared to 380,000 in Q3 2020, when the cable business was still bundling TV with all the new broadband subscriptions it was selling amid the pandemic quarantine. 

Overall, the top operators representing 93% of the market have 77 million remaining linear video customers.

Now here, look at this chart:

(Image credit: Leichtman Research Group)