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AT&T earnings: Revenue drops

March Madness cancellation hits WarnerMedia

AT&T earnings: Revenue drops
  • Q1 revenue: $42.8 billion (-4.6% YoY, -8.6% QoQ, vs. $44.2 billion expected)
  • Q1 earnings: $4.69 billion (+14.1% YoY, +96% QoQ, in line with expectations)
  • Q2 guidance: Withdrawn, "due to the lack of visibility related to COVID-19 pandemic and recovery."

The big number: AT&T added 163,000 net new monthly phone subscribers last quarter, well ahead of the 90,700 analysts expected. But it lost 897,000 premium video subscribers.

People are talking: "None of us can predict exactly what's going to happen in the remainder of the year," said CFO John Stephens.

Opportunities: CEO Randall Stephenson told analysts that the crisis has demonstrated how important telecoms are to society, and said he hopes policymakers realize that after the crisis. Just as Big Tech is seeing a change in sentiment as a result of its crisis response, so could the telecoms sector.

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Threats: Though AT&T has seen increased demand for its services, it's struggling to monetize that: Mobility revenue was up just 2.5% year over year. The company said it took a hit from a lack of roaming fees as well as its decision to waive late fees. That could lead to increased loyalty later down the line, though.

The power struggle: WarnerMedia saw a $1 billion year-over-year drop in revenue, thanks to lower advertising revenue from the cancellation of the NCAA's March Madness and weaker theatrical performance. Profit margins also worsened, which AT&T attributed to investment in HBO Max. The streaming service launches next month, and AT&T will hope it can make up for losses elsewhere: Executives suggested they'll increasingly look to move theatrical releases to the new service.

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