UPDATED: Looks like a sense of humor was one of the first things to go when AT&T bought DirecTV. Executives can’t be happy with the roughly 3% decline in the telco’s stock this morning after it unveiled new financial projections following the deal. And the first national ad campaign won’t inspire smiles the way the No. 1 satellite service tried to do in recent spots featuring fashion model Hannah Davis with a talking horse or actor Rob Lowe playing a goofy alter ego who subscribes to cable.
The company sent a message of power and stability to analysts — telling them to expect midsingle digit growth in adjusted earnings through 2018, with double digit growth in revenue.
“With our national retail presence, coast-to-coast TV and mobile coverage, and pervasive broadband footprint, we’re positioned like no other to lead the evolution of video and shape the future of the industry,” CEO Randall Stephenson says. “We have the premier set of assets to redefine TV everywhere and deliver an entertainment experience that is truly unique.”
AT&T Entertainment and Internet Services CEO John Stankey vowed to “set the model for the others to chase” even as pay TV cord cutting, shaving, and avoidance “continue to grow.” The company hopes to take customers from cable by bundling services, adding functions, and making entertainment more portable.
In the process, AT&T expects to save more than $2.5 billion by 2018, much of it by using its new muscle to slow the growth in its content costs.
The sense of awe also infuses AT&T’s new national ads for DirecTV. The first spot, to run during the PGA Championship on Saturday, was directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White And The Huntsman). It shows screen-obsessed folks in New York City who are momentarily mystified when a hidden force takes over everything from their smart phones to Times Square billboards.
Instead of being terrorized, they’re delighted when the force shows them famous clips from movies including The Wizard Of Oz, Star Trek, Home Alone and Casablanca, as well as New York Yankee legend Derek Jeter driving in the winning run in his last home game.