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Facing DirecTV Now Sub Losses, AT&T Offering Free Roku Device

15 Jun, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Reported subscriber sluggishness finds AT&T June 15 announcing it is giving a Roku Premiere media device to any new sub who prepays for two months service of the online TV platform.

DirecTV Now packages start from $35 monthly for 60 channels. The Roku Premiere enables users to stream 4K Ultra HD content.

“We're making it easy by eliminating up-front cost and providing a cost effective solution to stream the content they crave from their living room couches,” Brad Bentley, EVP and CMO, said in a statement.

The Roku promotion comes amind a report that DirecTV Now sub growth had flatlined in March after losing 3,000 subs in February. It ended 2016 with 200,000 subs.

Launched in late November, DirecTV Now marked the telecom’s ambitious move into online TV after acquiring satellite operator DirecTV — and departure from the wired U-verse pay-TV business.

AT&T has a pending $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner being scrutinized by regulators. Shareholders approved the deal — which includes Warner Bros., HBO and Turner — in February. That same month, FCC chairman Ajit Pai said he didn’t expect the commission to review the merger.

Indeed, AT&T is offering HBO for free to unlimited data subs, $5 monthly to DirecTV Now plans.

In a interview, Bentley reiterated DirecTV Now was not “a hobby” to AT&T.

“This is something that is a core part of our proposition,” he said. “We're putting the right pieces together to continue to play to win. Our goal is to be at the top there.”

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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