During the first quarter of 2020, Verizon lost 84,000 Pay TV subscribers and 68,000 postpaid cell phone customers, while the telecom business continued to see the COVID-19 pandemic effects. Verizon said it’s seeing an “ongoing change from conventional linear content to over-the-top deals” in its earnings report this morning. The phenomenon is not recent, but widespread quarantines are just helping to move it forward.

The business said it also saw decreases in product sales, with 70 percent of Verizon’s stores closed. In spite of that, its consumer division announced 59,000 net adds to its Fios Internet service.

Verizon had $31.6 billion in first-quarter sales which was short of Wall Street analysts’ $32.4 billion estimate.

For the first quarter, Verizon’s media division reported $1.7 billion in sales, a 4 per cent year-over-year decline. That was attributed to poor trends in ads last month, the company said; HuffPost and Yahoo are included in its media unit.

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“In the run-up to the COVID-19 crisis, sales patterns year-over-year continued the gradual growth seen in full-year 2019. Verizon Media has seen increased levels of customer engagement on its channels but in the current climate, advertisement rates have decreased.

Verizon participates in the Keep Americans Connected Agreement, waiving late fees and not cutting customer support during the pandemic. In an interview on CNBC after today’s earnings call Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg said the company was dealing with consumers who were unable to pay.

He also said that Verizon is already in the queue with its 5G rollout, but people don’t go into stores to purchase apps. “We have strong supply chain relations,” Vestberg said. “I think when people see 5G improvements I think people would really want it.”

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