DirecTV plans to lay off approximately 10% of its management staff, a spokesperson confirmed to TechCrunch. The layoffs will be in effect next Friday, January 20.
The staff reduction comes as DirecTV, among other pay-TV companies, grapple with the continuous loss of consumers moving away from linear television and shifting over to streaming. DirecTV no longer publicly reports subscriber numbers; however, credit rating agency Fitch Ratings estimated that the company lost approximately 500,000 subs in Q3 2022, bringing the total to 13.3 million. For comparison, Comcast has around 16.6 million video subscribers. In September, Bloomberg reported that Comcast plans to cut $1 billion from its traditional TV network division.
“The entire pay-TV industry is impacted by the secular decline and the increasing rates to secure and distribute programming. We’re adjusting our operations costs to align with these changes and will continue to invest in new entertainment products and service enhancements,” the DirecTV spokesperson said.
DirecTV has its satellite TV service and DirectTV Stream, its streaming business. The management staff makes up less than half of DirecTV’s overall workforce, according to CNBC, which broke the news of the layoffs.
Cable and broadcast viewership continues to decline. In July 2022, streaming represented a 34.8% share of total TV viewing in the U.S., whereas cable's share of TV viewing was at 34.4% and broadcast was 21.6%, per Nielsen. As of October 2022, Leichtman Research Group estimated that only two-thirds (66%) of households in the U.S. have a pay-TV service, a decrease of 79% in 2017.
It’s likely DirecTV experienced a drop in subs when it lost the rights to NFL’s “Sunday Ticket.” Last year was DirecTV’s final year as the exclusive home of “Sunday Ticket.” However, fans were disappointed when its website and app crashed during opening weekend.
YouTube was announced the winner of the “Sunday Ticket” last month.