AT&T has posted a $13.9 billion (€11.5bn) loss in the fourth quarter, as the owner of Warner Bros and HBO took a big Covid-19 hit with $650 million in charges.
But this is dwarfed by the group’s decision to accept a $15.5 billion charge on its pay-TV business, as subscribers cut the cord.
The only relief was at HBO Max as audiences devour at-home entertainment. The number of HBO customers who activated the new streaming service doubled to 17 million in the quarter. Total subscribers to HBO, including the Max platform, climbed to 41 million in the quarter, and 61 million worldwide.
Despite the write downs, strength in AT&T’s core wireless business helped the company beat Wall Street forecasts for earnings and revenue. The company reported adjusted earnings of 75 cents on revenue of $45.7 billion. Analysts had forecast earnings of 73 cents on revenue of $44.6 billion.