Shares of TV providers drop as AT&T warns of video losses

Charter Communications Inc., the second-biggest cable US company, is now fighting with Viacom over a distribution deal that could lead to a blackout of Viacom's channels for millions of its customers. More people are dropping their traditional TV subscriptions in favor of cheaper streaming services.

With AT&T also revealing that DirecTV Now-the virtual MVPD it launched in the fourth quarter of 2016-gained 300,000 customers in Q3, the cord-cutting math becomes trickier.

Signs are emerging that the pay-TV ecosystem is in full-blown crisis mode.

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Five equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and two have assigned a buy rating to the company's stock. The stock exchanged hands with 5,524,109 numbers of shares compared to its average daily volume of 5.06M shares. (NYSE:VZ).

"Those salad days of fat bundles, automatic carriage renewals and customary affiliate steps ups are long gone", Citigroup Inc. analyst Jason Bazinet wrote in a note this week.

Experts are saying that 2017 is on pace to have biggest pay-TV subscriber losses ever. That figure doesn't include online services like DirecTV Now. The five biggest TV providers are projected to have lost 469,000 customers in just the third quarter.

Stock affected on Thursday by nervous investors included AMC Networks that dropped 7%, Dish Network was down 5%, Discovery Communications, E.W. Scripps and Sinclair Broadcast Group all dropped by 4% and Charter was down 3%.

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Netflix, which is thought to be one of the benefactors of the increase in cord-cutting because former customers of cable and satellite television have flocked to the service, saw shares increase by 1%, which give the business an $84.6 billion market cap that was more than 21 Century Fox, CBS and Viacom combined. Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson has argued that the acquisition will let AT&T create compelling video packages for mobile subscribers and provide valuable targeting information for advertisers.

"It is becoming increasingly clear that the wheels are falling off of satellite TV", said Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson LLC, in a research note.

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