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From: Jon Koplik4/21/2021 11:12:11 PM
   of 4269
Barrons / AT&T Earnings Preview : HBO Max Is the Only Thing to Watch ..................................................

Earnings Preview

April 21, 2021
5:13 pm ET

AT&T Earnings: HBO Max Is the Only Thing to Watch

By Nicholas Jasinski

5G. Fiber. HBO Max. That’s all AT&T executives want to talk about. Only one of those things has moved the stock lately, however, and that’s HBO Max. That, and the company’s commitment to its hefty dividend. Keep that in mind when AT&T reports its first-quarter earnings on Thursday morning.

AT&T is expected to report a profit of 53 cents a share, down 16% from a year ago, on sales of $42.7 billion, about equal to the year-ago period. After one-time costs and profits, AT&T’s adjusted earnings per share are forecast to come in at 78 cents, down 8% from a year ago. And like most companies this earnings season, the company will likely top earnings estimates.

The focus, however, will be on HBO Max. The streaming service stole the show at an investor day AT&T hosted last month, with a significantly higher long-term subscriber target the key takeaway from the event. Management said that they expect to have up to 150 million streaming subscribers on HBO and HBO Max by 2025, versus a previous forecast -- ­from late 2019 -- ­of up to 90 million.

The services had a combined 61 million subscribers at the end of 2020. Expect that number to get bigger. Credit Suisse analyst Douglas Mitchelson forecasts that HBO Max added 1.1 million subscribers in the first quarter -- ­ahead of consensus­ -- based on the app’s 8.8 million downloads in the U.S. That’s ahead of all other U.S. streaming services in the quarter, according to Mitchelson, and well above the 1.4 million HBO app downloads in the year-earlier period.

That would be good news for AT&T. The market lately has valued streaming services on revenue multiples and subscriber growth alone, so the fact that AT&T will almost certainly lose money on the service -- ­the company said last month that it expects the service to break even in 2025­ -- won’t matter. Netflix (NFLX) stock has long traded predominantly on its subscriber numbers, while ViacomCBS (VIAC) and Discovery (DISCA) stocks were boosted by their management’s streaming-service targets in recent months, before their spectacular declines after the blowup of Archegos Capital Management.

It’s not that AT&T’s other businesses don’t matter. But wireless growth, if it’s good, will probably be written off because of the generous promotions and subsidized smartphones the company offered to both new and existing subscribers. Warner Bros. and Turner, AT&T’s non-streaming entertainment assets, will continue to be negatively impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic and long-term cord-cutting trends, and are unlikely to shock anyone. Also expect to hear plenty from management about their network investments, which include a $27 billion C-Band spectrum bill and an additional $6 billion to $8 billion to deploy that new spectrum. And above all, AT&T management will underline their commitment to maintaining the company’s dividend -- it currently yields 7% annually -- ­and to paying down debt.

These are long-term issues, and barring any surprises, AT&T stock’s reaction to its report on Wednesday may very well come down to a beat or miss from HBO Max, with the twitchy market more focused on AT&T’s streaming business of late rather than on the company’s telecom businesses.

It can worry about the rest later.

Write to Nicholas Jasinski at

Copyright © 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.


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To: Jon Koplik who wrote (4245)4/22/2021 9:56:45 AM
From: robert b furman
   of 4269
Earnings are out this morning:

Strong Earnings and subscriber growth in both postpaid wireless and HBO growth.

Pension fund adjustment boosted earnings , so a bit of a financial tweaking, but aggressive pricing allowing them to punch their weight.
Fiber optic internet subscriptions strong. Ditto pastpaid wireless and HBO Max.

Looks like Stanke is doing a great job of growing the business, amongst two other aggressive competitors.

I still maintain that T has the better network. VZ has the better false advertising claims and T Mobile has the worst coverage in the nation.

Bottom line it adds up to strong subscriber growth in all sectors.

A far better showing than Netflix managed.

The $14.99 HBO monthly charge is slowing being reached by other competitors.

T just needs to charge a fair price for a superior service and the world will come to your door step.

Slow managed growth and the selling off of their many assets when a fair price is received.

No doubt the real estate values of their real estate holdings have seen appreciation.

Now to further debt reduction, get it done and aim that growing cash flow to stock buybacks, but get the debt reduction DONE!

Hello 40's when that is reached!


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From: therealtiger5/8/2021 10:36:45 PM
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Will this company go bankrupt because of heavy debt ? will they able to give dividends in coming 5 years ?

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To: therealtiger who wrote (4247)5/9/2021 10:43:08 AM
From: robert b furman
1 Recommendation   of 4269
Hi Tiger,

No and yes.

Solid cash flow, and not over discounting their superior network will maintain their oligopoly advantage.

I have been a Direct TV subscribers for years. That includes HBO which has now morphed into a no extra charge HBO MAX.

I have read all of the naysayers about T's excessive debt,and failed cable TV subscribers. That doubt has extended to their growth of HBO Max.

I can now tell you that my subscription of Direct TV and HBO MAX s ongoing and the now almost monthly release of a new movie for free, is very enjoyable.

Would I go to the Movies and buy overpriced popcorn to see Mortal Kombat. Nope never.

Did I watch the new movie and enjoy seeing a movie I'd never pay to see? YOU BET!

I think the HBO MAX is a subscriber winner and surely makes my subscription very sticky.

I did not have that opinion before the HBO MAX launch, but after seeing Mortal Kombat, Greenland, Wonder Women, Justice league, Super Man and Louis, King Kong vs. Godzilla are all movies I'd never go to a theater to see, but have had an enjoyable evening watching ALL FOR NO EXTRA EXPENSE.

IMHO it is a subscriber grower with very little expense.

HBO MAX is a winner to me.

There are so many nay sayers on T and its debt.

I suspect a lot of the naysayers writing articles are hit jobs, by funds wanting to scoop up high yielding dividend paying stocks.

Keep in mind that T HAS A HUGE COLLECTION OF ASSETS, that are not essential core assets and as the market rewards their value, T will reallocate those resources over a long term into debt reduction.

I'm long and gladly receiving the 6% plus dividend, expecting it to become an even more secure long term dividend payer.

I have owned T for several years and now have a profitable position, that is yielding a very nice return.

When more people confirm what I'm enjoying T will be in the lower 40's and pay a solid dividend that will once again grow.

Debt reduction is still their focus IMO as well if should be!

T's 5G and fiber will be superior products just as their First Net has proven to be. T mobiles spotty coverage is a joke in many rural areas. Verizon is the only real competitor and they have taken on a lot of debt as well.

These Oligopolies will not be stripping their fees in the future.

They all need every bit of their cash flow to build out their systems.

Hope that helps!


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To: robert b furman who wrote (4248)5/9/2021 11:36:19 AM
From: Lee Lichterman III
1 Recommendation   of 4269
I'll take the other side just for grins... My grandparents worked for T from the beginning and thus received free shares with every paycheck. I inherited a ton of it and have been selling consistently for years. I'm nearing finally getting rid of the last of it probably soon.
Yes, they will probably be able to keep the dividend but yes they have huge debt and I feel they are too big to be nimble. I tried to get my father to dump a bunch around 2000 when it was much higher. They completely missed the internet and were slow to embrace cellphones. Now cellphone technology is constantly evolving so soon as they build out 4G, 5G comes along and something will come after keeping them in a constant need to stay in debt to be competitive.
DirecTV was a disaster purchase. I had it when it was $20 a month but when they hiked the price to $100 for just a basic package, I cancelled like millions of others and haven't looked back despite them calling me constantly trying to offer me temporary deals that expire then jack the rate up again.
Lastly, I'm sick and tired of the network agendas. They own CNN and other liberal agenda pushing channels. Name one show on TV that doesn't have an over the top flaming homosexual in it. I'll wait........... Everything is poor minority this or that, anticonservative, proliberal, preachy drivel.
I'll get my dividends from energy, SPYD (heavily weighted in financials in a rising interest rate period), and other stuff.
FWIW, T was $70 a share in 2000, $40 a share a few years ago. It's been in a long term slide for decades. Add in the decline in the dollar and the dividend isn't close to keeping up. You're just losing a little less.

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To: Lee Lichterman III who wrote (4249)5/9/2021 12:26:14 PM
From: robert b furman
2 Recommendations   of 4269
Hi Lee,

Always good to hear the other side from a good trader.

I have it for its dividend income. Direct TV was a disaster.

I don't see people giving up their smartphones and I do see that streaming will become more and more embraced.

When in Wisconsin we project streaming from our laptops onto our TV from our Houston streaming ap.

Many young kids do not have cable, but they live on their smartphone.

T did learn the evolution the hard way.

Thus the selling of part of Direct TV.

When HBO MAX was initially announced it was "very expensive @ 14.99". Then everyone else started bumping up their streaming service prices.

T does have a very good and fast network system as defined by the First Net program that serves first responders. It's quality has been a source of new enrollments from those who use it.

They also indicate that with HBO-MAX the subscribers are more sticky. T's churn is now at record lows - a sign of customer preference of the system's quality.

T's past acquisitions have been poor. The purchase of Time Warner included many non core assets and there are more to be monetized. They have done a good job of debt reduction - with more to go for sure.

I like that they got out of the discounting business and have quality subscribers.

I think they will slowly prove HBO MAX to be gaining market share and acceptance with their user base.

When/If that happens T will be in the 40's and I'll be enjoying a 6.69% yield on the current dividend of $2.08.

Not a dynamo position but it pays nicely on 4 glorious days a year. <smile>

Thanks for your view!


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From: Sr K5/16/2021 12:58:29 PM
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AT&T in Talks to Combine Media Assets, Including CNN, With Discovery

Deal would continue consolidation in media business buffeted by cord-cutting and streaming

The talks signal a major pullback by AT&T, which placed a massive bet on media with its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner Inc. for around $81 billion.PHOTO: TING SHEN/ZUMA PRESS

Dana Cimilluca
Drew FitzGerald
Cara Lombardo

May 16, 2021 12:44 pm ET

AT&T Inc. is in talks to combine a big portfolio of media assets, including CNN, with Discovery Inc., according to people familiar with the matter, a deal that would mark a major strategy shift for the telecom giant as the traditional TV business faces prolonged pressure.

The talks, which cover CNN and other parts of AT&T’s WarnerMedia division, including the TNT and TBS cable channels, are advanced, and an agreement could be reached by Monday, the people said. Should there be a deal, AT&T shareholders would own a big stake in the new entity, some of the people said. The people cautioned that a deal isn’t done yet and the talks could still fall apart. Other details of the potential transaction couldn’t be learned.

A deal between WarnerMedia and Discovery, whose portfolio includes its namesake network and HGTV, would further consolidate a media business buffeted by cord-cutting and competition from streaming video.

The talks signal a major pullback by AT&T, which placed a massive bet on media with its 2018 acquisition of Time Warner Inc. for around $81 billion. That deal made it the world’s most indebted nonfinancial company.

Bloomberg earlier reported that AT&T was in talks to combine media assets with Discovery.


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From: Elroy Jetson5/17/2021 5:37:30 PM
2 Recommendations   of 4269
Why is it every time I think about AT&T, all I can visualize is a mime trapped in an imaginary box?
We all know T is never going to get off Gilligan's Island . . . . . . . . . no matter how many episodes of "Business Reorganization" we watch.

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To: Elroy Jetson who wrote (4252)5/17/2021 6:29:06 PM
From: Lee Lichterman III
   of 4269
AT&T is like Lucy promising Charlie Brown that she will hold the football...

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From: Jon Koplik5/18/2021 1:55:30 PM
   of 4269
Wash. Post -- govt. program to cut bill. Verizon using it to force a new data plan .................................

May 17, 2021

The government has a program to cut your Internet bill. Verizon is using it to force you onto a new data plan.

Help Desk: Readers tell our tech columnist about shenanigans signing up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit, which is supposed to knock $50 off monthly bills

By Geoffrey A. Fowler
Technology columnist

The government has a new program to help Americans pay their Internet bills. Unfortunately, companies like Verizon are twisting it into an opportunity for an upsell.

Last week, I wrote about the arrival of the Emergency Broadband Benefit, or EBB, the largest federal program ever to help people afford Internet access. The EBB can cut $50 off monthly Internet bills and is available to tens of millions of Americans hit economically by the coronavirus pandemic. There’s $3.2 billion up for grabs, until the program ends when money runs out in the months ahead.

All Internet service provider participation in the program is voluntary, and each ISP gets to write some of its own rules for how to hand out the money. Soon after the EBB launched, I started hearing from Washington Post readers about their frustrations signing up with certain ISPs.

None of this should stop eligible Americans from trying to claim their broadband benefits ­ read this piece for my advice ­ but it’s important to call out some of the shenanigans.

Verizon elicited the most ire from readers. It requires customers to call a phone line to register for the EBB, rather than just signing up online. And when you do, Verizon tells some customers the EBB can’t be used on “old” data plans, so they’ll have to switch. That might be allowed by the letter of the law but certainly isn’t the spirit of the program.

Reader Eric from Hopedale, Mass., who asked to be identified only by his first name, was told his current no-contract Internet service, which costs $62 per month, would need to become part of a new Verizon Fios plan. That would run him $79 per month.

Yes, Eric would save money in the short term thanks to the $50 government discount, but when the EBB program runs out, he’ll have to pay more each month. “I’m sure the whole point of Fios doing this is to get more people to sign up for either their TV or mobile services,” he said in an email.

Annie Styles from Arlington, Va., who pays $79 per month for her Internet, says Verizon told her she would have to switch to a plan that would cost her closer to $95. “I stopped pursuing it with them after the math didn’t work out,” she says.

Sharon from Harrisburg, Pa., who asked to be identified only by her first name, said she was told by two customer service representatives that she could receive the EBB discount only if she increased her current Internet speed and reconfigured her TV package, too. She said the ultimate price would have depended on what video package she was forced to switch to, as well as new equipment with fees ­ but she dropped her EBB application out of frustration before she got that far.

When the EBB ends, she estimates, her overall monthly Internet and TV bill would be at least $50 higher. “In my case, it seems like EBB only benefits Verizon,” she said.

Verizon spokesman Alex Lawson said the company makes it clear on its site that the EBB can be used on only “qualifying plans.” And those include only its newer Mix & Match plans.

Mix & Match lets customers drop services like home phone that used to be bundled into Verizon’s packages, and Lawson says Verizon has found it saves customers money compared with its older bundles.

“There’s really no story here. We’re on the side of the customer and want to ensure they pay for what they need, and not for what they don’t,” Lawson said.

But Verizon’s new deals don’t mean everyone will save money. Eric said he got his $62-per-month contract for Gigabit Internet as a sign-up special. If he changes his plan at all, he loses the deal.

And unfortunately, Verizon isn’t the only ISP saying it won’t support older plans. AT&T, which also makes customers call to activate the EBB for home Internet, says existing customers will have to select from one of a handful of options, and the plan they select will become their plan after the EBB program ends. Charter says that “an extremely small percentage of customers” who have legacy Internet plans will have to switch to a Spectrum Internet plan as part of enrolling in the EBB.

One refreshing standout was Comcast, the nation’s largest ISP. “If a customer is on an old plan that’s not offered anymore, they are still eligible as long as they meet the qualification criteria for EBB,” spokesman Joel Shadle said.

© 2021 The Washington Post.


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