AT&T Misses Q1 Revenue Target as Premium TV, DirecTV Now Lose Subscribers

New WarnerMedia parent meets earnings expectations


AT&T’s first-quarter 2019 financials were a mixed bag. Now parent to Time Warner, the telco company met media analysts’ earnings per share number, but fell short of revenue expectations.

Wall Street had forecast earnings per share (EPS) of 86 cents on $45.11 billion in revenue, per a Yahoo Finance consensus estimate. AT&T hit that 86-cent mark with some adjustments, but came in a little low on revenue, posting $44.8 billion.

“Our first-quarter results show that we’re delivering on what we promised,” chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said. “We’re on plan to meet our de-leveraging goals with strong free cash flow and asset sales. We grew entertainment group EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization) in the quarter and are confident we’ll meet or exceed our full-year target.”

Q1 concluded on March 31, 2019. HBO’s marquee series, “Game of Thrones,” premiered its eighth and final season on April 14, 2019. HBO experienced subscriber growth leading up to that return, AT&T said on Wednesday.

Unfortunately, that sub lift did not hold across the board. The Stephenson-led corporation reported a net loss of 544,000 premium-TV subscribers in the quarter and a net loss of 83,000 DirecTV Now subs.

This was AT&T’s first first-quarter as Time Warner owner. WarnerMedia revenue for the 90-day period was $8.4 billion. Subscription revenue was $3.4 billion, advertising revenues were $1.3 billion. Content and other revenues tallied $3.7 billion, with TV just out-drawing film.

Last year, AT&T purchased Turner, HBO and Warner Bros. home Time Warner for $85 billion. There has been a high-level executive shuffle since then, bringing Bob Greenblatt aboard to head WarnerMedia. In the process, HBO said goodbye to Richard Plepler and Turner lost David Levy.

Kevin Tsujihara stepped down from atop Warner Bros. in March.

AT&T stock (T) closed Tuesday at $32.10 per share, up 2 cents per share. The U.S. stock markets will reopen at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Company executives will host a conference call at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the quarter in greater detail.