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

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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.

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

ImAnAgent

Suspended
Oct 11, 2018
273
212
My mind
I had already bought 3 4K Apple TVs before they started that deal back in April and March. I tried the DirecTV service for a few months and decided my Xfinity service was much better with my DVR.
 
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davidg4781

macrumors 68020
Oct 28, 2006
2,328
235
Alice, TX
I've wanted to ditch cable but with Spectrum's new pricing, there's a bit of a wash for my needs in terms of pricing. And maybe that's just for the first year or so. To me, it's not worth the hassle of buying Apple TVs or Rokus for all the TVs and have them suck up my bandwidth just to have 2.5 Men streaming in the background while I cook supper.

Also, not counting Hulu Live, Spectrum is the only way I can catch local channels. And Hulu was just added a couple of months ago.
 
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Raineer

macrumors member
Apr 26, 2008
60
39
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.
 

kytiger

macrumors member
Jul 20, 2011
49
186
I was one too. The promotion worked as I tried DirectvNow. I wouldn't have done that without the Apple TV promotion. But I also tried YouTube TV, and it was much better. So I canceled DirectvNow.
 
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radiology

Suspended
Feb 11, 2014
377
1,389
Westlake, OH
I’m generally happy with the service. It’s saving me a lot of money. I just don’t like the fact that I have to login every other day.
 

trusso

macrumors 6502
Oct 4, 2003
455
1,110
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.
 

mdorais

macrumors regular
Apr 28, 2008
136
92
I switched from DirecTV where I was paying $125/month to DirecTV Now's $40/month plan. I'm doing the free trial to see if I like it and after just one night so far it's working well for me. There was a hiccup in fast forwarding a show I was watching which required me to close & re-open the app. I'm curious to see if all those other bugs that have been reported will affect me as well.

For me DirecTV Now has the trifecta I want: DVR, local channels, & international programming. I know a lot of people don't need those 3 but it's hard for me to live without them if I'm going to pay for a service.
 

TypeEE

macrumors member
Jun 10, 2009
70
14
I was one of them, but the direct tv experience was just horrible. I was subscribed to direct tv for world cup, I could hardly find the game I want to watch. I basically have direct tv and use channel specific app. Like most people, I unsubscribe after the 3 months.
 

jent

macrumors 6502a
Mar 31, 2010
776
225
How likely do you think DirecTV is to reintroduce a similar Apple TV promo?
 

Coldsmoke55

macrumors newbie
Feb 17, 2016
29
53



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.
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.

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

xpxp2002

macrumors 6502
May 3, 2016
323
546
I also took advantage of this promotion that they had coupled with a credit card rebate that brought the cost down to about $70 for three months of DTVN and an Apple TV 4K. Excellent deal.

But DTVN didn’t have DVR ready yet at the time and that was a dealbreaker. They also had strict limits on locals that YouTube TV and my local MSO don’t have. I’ve looked at DTVN again since then and they’re only offering something like 20 hours of recording time. Far too low. YouTube TV’s model isn’t ideal either, but still better, with unlimited recording that expires instead of hour limits.

But yeah...until these services actually compete, I’ll keep my 1TB DVR that holds anything forever, thanks.
 
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Coldsmoke55

macrumors newbie
Feb 17, 2016
29
53
The loss of subscribers is less about the Apple TV deal and more about the inconsistent and unreliability of their streaming service. The overall user interface is better than most but if it hiccups, pixelates or just plain old doesn’t work because of a service outage than what is the point. Further, their DVR remains in beta and understandably so. It is completely unreliable and often records but gives an error on playback. AT&T’s response to any issue is to give you a $5 credit. Sorry, I don’t want a credit, I want a reliable streaming service which I now have with Sony PS VUE. It’s user interface sucks but it’s reliable.
 

farewelwilliams

macrumors 68040
Jun 18, 2014
3,706
14,821
it lost a lot of users because the apps on iOS and Apple TV have remained broken for the past several months and they seem to have shifted resources away from these areas to focus on their own set top box.

the only thing keeping me around is the free data streaming since im an ATT customer. im very close to cancelling however. i gave playstation vue a try and their apps worked flawlessly
 
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redneckitengineer

macrumors 6502
Oct 27, 2017
420
937
I've been with them since the beginning. I'm grandfathered into a decent price for everything. They've given me 2 Apple TV's and this neat new AndroidTV box I'm beta testing now worth $150 when it comes out. I've had some issues with their DVR, but otherwise still find it the best cost cutting service out there. I can watch my TV from anywhere.
 

BuffaloTF

macrumors 65816
Jun 10, 2008
1,035
997
I got a 4 and a 4k from them through these promotions. But I can’t beat the new Spectrum bundle prices. If they add the same 4K channels they have on DirecTV satellite, it will become very tempting. Well, that and making every channel 60 FPS like YouTube TV does would also help.
 

uneeko1ne

macrumors regular
Dec 16, 2017
120
66
Reno,Nv
getting ready to get rid of the service myself, not worth the money and I don't even get local channels in my area / not to mention its down a lot
 

UnusedLoginID

macrumors regular
Feb 28, 2012
219
212
I got the DTV now Apple TV promo when they launched the service. I liked it but could not justify the - ever higher - price and the lack of local channels.
I’m now trying Sling TV with the AirTV player. It’s nice to have all my OTA antenna channels listed in the same guide as Sling. I attached a hard drive on the back of the AirTV player and can record local channels. I like the fact that pressing the power button will turn on both player and TV. Very easy to use. DVR for non OTA channels is available too for a fee and you can get all kind of International channels like France or Brazil. The base package includes ESPN 1, 2 and 3 and the $5/month Latino package includes BeIn Sports (La Liga, French, Mexico, Turkish leagues). There’s movie channels too and they have in-demand movies and shows. Includes HGTV, food network if you watch it too. $25/month
So far I like it excerpt for the occasional reboot of the AirTV player.
 
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