AT&T looking to ditch DirecTV, report says

The broadcast satellite provider could either become its own separate company or be sold off Dish, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Corinne Reichert Senior Editor
Corinne Reichert (she/her) grew up in Sydney, Australia and moved to California in 2019. She holds degrees in law and communications, and currently writes news, analysis and features for CNET across the topics of electric vehicles, broadband networks, mobile devices, big tech, artificial intelligence, home technology and entertainment. In her spare time, she watches soccer games and F1 races, and goes to Disneyland as often as possible.
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Corinne Reichert
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AT&T is reportedly looking to offload DirecTV as a separate company or combined provider with Dish.

Angela Lang/CNET

AT&T is looking into offloading broadcast satellite provider DirecTV, The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday, citing unnamed sources. It could be done as "a spin-off or combination with Dish," CNBC also reported.

DirecTV could either become its own separate company or be sold off to satellite TV provider Dish -- which also recently bought $5 billion in wireless assets from T-Mobile and Sprint -- the Journal expanded.

AT&T declined to comment.

AT&T's media content business has been struggling, losing 778,000 premium video users in the second quarter. Its streaming service DirecTV Now, which is being rebranded as AT&T TV Now, also lost another 168,000 users in the same quarter.

The company is also facing a lawsuit alleging it created fake customer accounts to make it look like DirecTV Now was seeing customer growth ahead of the company's $85 billion Time Warner merger. The amended complaint, filed Friday in the US District Court for the Southern District of New York, alleges AT&T "encouraged" its employees to add the service to customers' accounts without their knowledge.

"We plan to fight these baseless claims in court," an AT&T spokesperson said in an emailed statement Tuesday. 

AT&T and WarnerMedia are about to launch another streaming service, HBO Max, which will go live in spring 2020 and include content like Doctor Who, Friends, Game of Thrones, Sex and the City, The Sopranos, Veep, the Gossip Girl sequel, The Big Bang Theory, Sesame Street, new JJ Abrams content, a new Watchmen TV series and movies including Wonder Woman and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.

Also coming to HBO Max are Shows from The CW network like Pretty Little Liars, Batwoman and Riverdale spinoff Katy Keene, as The CW winds down its streaming deal with Netflix.

HBO Max is rumored to launch with a starting cost of $14.99 a month, the same as a current HBO subscription, NBC News reported in September.

Originally published Sept. 18, 2:36 p.m. PT.
Update, 2:44 p.m.: Adds AT&T declining to comment, info on AT&T's video business; 2:51 p.m.: Adds info on HBO Max; 4:08 p.m.: Adds more info on options for offloading DirecTV.

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