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投资者指控 AT&T 流媒体业务 DirecTV Now 数据造假

AT&T faked DirecTV Now numbers, lawsuit alleges
投资者指控 AT&T 流媒体业务 DirecTV Now 数据造假
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2019-09-24 09:55
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投资者指控 AT&T 流媒体业务 DirecTV Now 数据造假

AT&T faked the numbers for its DirecTV Now streaming service ahead of the company’s Time Warner merger, according to a lawsuit filed by investors, Bloomberg reported. The suit alleges the media giant pressured employees to boost DirecTV Now’s numbers by secretly adding the product to existing customers’ accounts. It also claims the company touted DirecTV Now’s user growth, when in reality, subscribers were leaving as their promotional periods ended and the service’s price hikes were limiting new sign-ups.

根据彭博社的报道,投资者提起诉讼称,AT&T 在并购时代华纳之前伪造了 DirecTV Now 流媒体服务的业绩数字。诉讼称,这家媒体巨头向员工施压,通过秘密将 DirecTV Now 产品添加至客户账号来增加该业务的用户数。诉讼还称,该公司大肆吹嘘 DirecTV Now 的用户数增长,但实际上随着推广期的结束,付费订购用户纷纷离开,而该服务的涨价也制约了新注册用户数的增长。

The suit says a variety of tactics were used to promote the idea that DirecTV Now was growing organically. For example, it claims that employees were taught how and encouraged to convert activation fees that customers typically had to pay to upgrade their phones into DirecTV Now subscriptions. This involved the customer being told the fee was being “waived,” when instead the customer was charged anyway and the payment was applied to up to 3 DirecTV Now accounts using fake emails.

诉讼指出,AT&T 采用各种策略来宣传 DirecTV Now 正在实现自发增长。例如,该公司员工被指导如何转换客户在订购 DirecTV Now 时支付的激活费。客户可能被告知,这笔费用已经 “免除”,但实际上还是被收取了费用,并且利用虚假电子邮件地址对多达 3 个 DirecTV Now 帐号进行收费。

One former employee even said that around 40%-50% of customers he dealt with in early 2017 were complaining about being charged for DirecTV Now, which they had never signed up for. This was supported by other employees, the suit cites, and was a directive that came top from upper management to the sales channel.

一名前员工表示,在 2017 年初与他打交道的用户中,有大约 40% 到 50% 的人投诉被收取了 DirecTV Now 的费用,但实际上他们从未注册使用该服务。诉讼中提到,这种说法也得到了其他员工的证实,并且这是高级管理者对销售渠道的一条指令。

In addition, the suit speaks to overly aggressive sales quotas, high churn from deeply discounted promotions, technical issues, and unsustainable pricing. It noted how AT&T finally disclosed that by the end of 2018, none of the 500,000 heavily discounted DirecTV Now subscribers remained on the service, and subscriptions had dropped by 267,000 as a result. In April 2019, it reported another 83,000 subscribers had left the service, and in July, 168,000 had abandoned it.

此外,这起诉讼还涉及到过度激进的销售价格、因大幅折扣而导致的用户流失率上升、技术问题,以及不可持续的定价。诉讼指出,AT&T 最终披露,到 2018 年底,50 万个享受大幅折扣的 DirecTV Now 订户没有继续使用该服务,因此付费订购量减少了 26.7 万个。2019 年 4 月,该公司又报告称,另 8.3 万付费用户退出了该服务。而到 7 月份,又有多达 16.8 万付费用户退出。

But ahead of the Time Warner merger, AT&T touted the service’s success, the suit said. It didn’t disclose any of the risks associated with DirecTV Now, despite SEC obligations. The plaintiffs believe AT&T should have noted what made its stock risky, including the fact that DirecTV Now was not profitable, its growth had been dependent on aggressive promotions, and it faced severe technical challenges.

然而在与时代华纳合并之前,AT&T 仍在吹嘘该业务的成功。尽管需要承担对美国证券交易委员会(SEC)的义务,但 AT&T 仍然没有披露与 DirecTV Now 相关的任何风险。原告方认为,AT&T 应该注意到,该公司的股票存在什么样的风险,例如 DirecTV Now 没有盈利,该业务的增长一直依赖于激进的促销活动,以及服务面临着严峻的技术挑战。

“By buying AT&T’s securities at these artificially inflated and artificially maintained prices, the Class members suffered economic losses, which losses were a direct and proximate result of Defendants’ fraudulent conduct,” the suit states.

起诉书称:“集体诉讼的成员以被人为抬高和维持的价格买入了 AT&T 股票,因此遭受了经济损失。这些损失是被告欺诈行为的直接结果。”

“We plan to fight these baseless claims in court,” an AT&T spokesperson said in a statement.

对此,AT&T 发言人在声明中表示:“我们计划在法庭上对抗这些毫无根据的指控。”

DirecTV Now had a rough start to begin with, having suffered heavily from glitches, including freezing, buffering, and more. While that can happen at first with new streaming services, AT&T’s glitches were bad enough that many wanted to cancel.

DirecTV Now 经历了艰难的开端,遭遇了严重故障,包括卡顿和长时间缓冲等。虽然这种情况下很容易发生在新的流媒体服务中,但 AT&T 的这些问题非常糟糕,导致许多人都不想再继续使用。

TechCrunch reported in 2017 how customers complained they weren’t able to get refunds from AT&T,?even though they weren’t able to use the service as promised. Some had even filed complaints with the FCC, we found. In January, we also noted how the service’s price hikes and promotional packages ending led to a sizable loss of subscribers and that AT&T was “losing the cord cutters.”

TechCrunch 于 2017 年报道,客户投诉他们无法像承诺中那样使用 DirecTV Now,同时无法从 AT&T 获得退款。我们发现,有些人甚至向美国联邦通信委员会(FCC)提出了投诉。1 月份,我们还注意到,该服务的涨价和促销结束导致了付费订购用户的大量流失,以及 AT&T 正在 “失去掐线族用户”。

The filing of the lawsuit comes at a time where AT&T has seen much upheaval. This month, activist investor ?Elliott Management Corp. disclosed its $3.2 billion stake in AT&T and criticized the company’s acquisition strategy. It also suggested that AT&T should sell some assets that don’t fit its future direction, like the DirecTV satellite service and Mexican wireless business. ?AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson defended the company’s $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner today, in response to this criticism.

AT&T 近期正在经历动荡。本月,维 权投资者 Elliott Management 披露,该基金持有 AT&T 的 32 亿美元股份,并批评该公司的收购策略,此外,它还建议 AT&T 出售不符合未来发展方向的资产,例如 DirecTV 的卫星服务,以及在墨西哥的移动通信业务。AT&T CEO 兰达尔·史蒂芬森(Randell Stephenson)今天回应了批评,并为 850 亿美元收购时代华纳的交易进行了辩护

In addition, AT&T CEO of Communications, John Donovan, recently announced his retirement, with WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey being promoted to president and chief operating officer at AT&T.

此外,AT&T 通信业务 CEO 约翰·多诺万(John Donovan)近期宣布退休,而华纳媒体 CEO 约翰·斯坦基(John Stankey)被晋升为 AT&T 总裁及首席运营官。

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