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AT&T Planning DirecTV Streaming Video Services

1 Mar, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

The skinny bundle market is getting another player.

AT&T March 1 announced it plans to offer DirecTV direct to consumers over the Internet in the fourth quarter via smartphone, tablet, Smart TV, streaming media player or PC.

The telecom said it would offer three streaming options (via apps), including “DirecTV Now,” featuring on-demand and live programming from numerous networks, plus premium add-on options such as HBO and Showtime OTT.

“DirecTV Mobile” is for consumers wanting to watch premium video and made-for-digital content directly on a smartphone, regardless of the wireless provider. “DirecTV Preview” is ad-supported over-the-top service featuring some DirecTV programming, in addition to millennial-focused video from Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group.

AT&T didn’t disclose pricing or content selections for the aforementioned services.

The services would be similar to Dish Network’s Sling TV, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and Charter Communication’s Spectrum TV Plus. Launched last year, these services became the first Web-based platforms offering pay-TV channels such as ESPN, CNN, HBO, AMC Networks, TNT, Showtime and TBS without a traditional pay-TV subscription.

“These new video subscription models reflect the flexible content choices, viewing options and simple, transparent pricing that consumers want,” John Stankey, CEO of AT&T entertainment group, said in a statement. “These offers will provide a broad range of customers with greater freedom and choice to watch, binge and even buy premium content, regardless of how and where they enjoy their entertainment."

Stanley said AT&T delivers more than 60 million streams and downloads to its pay-TV subscribers each month. Streaming video represents more than 60% of AT&T’s network traffic.

“We intend to offer customers a quality pay-TV experience, including top channels, sports and more, with increased value and flexibility of pure online streaming and no need for home installation,” he said.

Indeed, AT&T last month disclosed that its U-verse platform is slowly winding down operations, including losing 240,000 subscribers in Q4. It added 2.8 million wireless subs, and with recent acquisition, DirecTV, added 214,000 video subscribers to end the period with 19.7 million.

“You’ll see that relationship [between U-verse and DirecTV] get better … because we are focused on the satellite product,” CEO Randall Stephenson said on the Jan. 26 fiscal call.

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