DirecTV Is Dying Before Our Very Eyes

( Customers throughout the United States are ditching traditional cable TV providers for alternative video viewing options built around streaming services.

It’s a trend that has been going on for a few years now that’s forced many traditional cable companies to switch their approach to business.

It’s also significantly impacted the satellite TV market, which doesn’t have other services such as internet to fall back on. And it’s shown in the performance of one of the major providers of that service.

In just the second quarter of 2022, DirecTV reported that they lost 400,000 subscribers, according to data provided by TPG Capital, a private equity company. That leaves DirecTV with about 14.9 million customers across the country.

Back in May of 2014, following AT&T’s acquisition of it, DirectTV had almost 26 million customers. At the time, that made it the largest operator of pay TV in America, ahead of even Comcast for a short period of time.

DirecTV was long seen as a solid alternative to traditional cable TV. It offered impressive technologies and features to customers and generally a lower price than some of the big companies in the traditional TV market.

It even offered exclusive programming, highlighted by the NFL Sunday Ticket, which provided fans with the opportunity to watch out-of-market NFL games that wouldn’t have been available for them to watch otherwise.

This season hasn’t been going too well for them just yet, though. For two straight weeks, the NFL Sunday Ticket programming has crashed, causing fans to miss out on their beloved games — perhaps one of the only reasons they were still subscribing.

DirecTV tried to work fast to rectify the problem, but it was too little, too late for many. They announced they would be providing refunds to customers because of the outage. As the company’s Help account tweeted recently:

“We recognize we didn’t meet expectations on Sunday for customers looking to stream some of the games, and we want to apologize. While it won’t bring the games back, we plan to reach out to those affected to automatically reimburse them for week two.”

This is an obvious problem for DirecTV now, but it’s going to be an even bigger problem for them in the future. That’s because this season marks the end of its contract that allows it to be the only carrier of the NFL package — and it likely won’t be the winner in the bidding for the next contract.

In fact, over the summer, Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the NFL, said that he expected the NFL Sunday Ticket to move over to a streaming video service. The league made a deal recently with Amazon for streaming of its Thursday Night Football games, and the league seems to be embracing this delivery of games.

For DirecTV, it’s more bad news in a string of bad news. For it to not lose even more subscribers in the short term, many experts say they need to fix whatever issues with the Sunday NFL Ticket they’re experiencing.

As Charles King, an analyst of the technology industry for Pund-IT, said recently:

“DirecTV’s situation is serious, particularly after the second outage of a premium stewing service in as many weeks. It is also unusual in terms of how most vendors deal with technical issues, addressing them quickly and making certain they don’t happen again.

“This is not only disappointing to the fans who pay for the NFL package. It will also impact DirecTV’s brand.”