AT&T shares slump as more TV customers leave

FeaturesAssociated Press

Shares of AT&T slid Wednesday as the wireless and entertainment company reported that its TV customer losses continued in the first quarter.

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AT&T Inc., which owns DirecTV, said it lost 627,000 video customers in the January-March quarter. Its DirecTV Now streaming service, a cable alternative launched in 2016, lost customers for the second quarter in a row as the company ends deep discounts for the service.

The Dallas company plans to launch another streaming service focused on HBO and the WarnerMedia library, which it also owns, later this year. It will compete with a growing number of streaming services, including new ones from Disney and Comcast.

The country's second-largest wireless carrier after Verizon added 80,000 cellphone customers who pay a monthly bill, the more lucrative type of wireless customer. AT&T also added "prepaid" cellphone customers.

The WarnerMedia division, which houses its TV networks and movie studio, got a boost from the box office of "Aquaman."

Overall, AT&T reported net income of $4.1 billion, or 56 cents per share, down from $4.66 billion, or 75 cents per share, in the same quarter the year before.

Earnings, adjusted for one-time gains and costs, were 86 cents per share, beating analysts' estimate by 1 cent.

Revenue grew 18 percent to $44.83 billion in the period, which missed Street forecasts. Thirteen analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $45.09 billion.

AT&T shares dropped $1.27, or 4%, or $30.83 in late morning trading. They had increased 13% since the beginning of the year.

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