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AT&T Continues Its Slow Goodbye to U-Verse

The DirecTV satellite unit is now getting the lion’s share of marketing support in luring new customers

AT&T’s U-Verse pay-TV service is playing second fiddle to its big brother DirecTV more and more.

The telecom giant has ceased making U-verse set-top boxes and is nudging would-be customers toward satellite unit DirecTV in its marketing, Bloomberg said in a report.

AT&T became the country’s biggest pay-TV provider last year with its $49 billion takeover of DirecTV. The transformational purchase was aimed at diversifying the former Bell Telephone Company into more television service and “over-the-top” and mobile video, but it hinges on AT&T successfully steering the property during a shift from traditional TV viewing to TV viewed over the Internet.

In a statement Tuesday, AT&T said that it is leading its video marketing approach with DirecTV to take advantage of that acquisition. “Our first priority is to listen to our customers and meet their needs, and if we determine a customer will be better served with the U-verse product, we offer attractive and compelling options,” it said.

Subscribers to U-Verse have been dwindling as AT&T has downplayed the service in favor of DirecTV. AT&T added 214,000 satellite TV subscribers during the latest quarter, but lost 26,000 video subscribers altogether as it shifts focus away from U-Verse.

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