Yet another evolutionary turn is taking place in the crowded field of cable/satellite programming and streaming services: AT&T will offer streaming bundles — the biggest option dubbed “DirecTV Now” — and it does not require AT&T service or a satellite dish.
Any broadband service will do for this potential Netflix competitor. Welcome to the increasingly confusing world of TV programming aimed at “cord cutters.”
AT&T has also announced its sister offerings: DirecTV Mobile, which is for consumers who want to watch on their smartphone; and DirecTV Preview, which will let people see DirecTV content for free. Customers can expect to see these three new streaming options beginning in the fourth quarter of 2016.
John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, said in a statement that the new services will stand out in a crowded market by offering more content without sacrificing quality.
“We are looking at these offerings differently than others in the market. We often hear from customers who want more content from streaming services, or who can’t get or can’t afford a traditional pay-TV service,” Stankey said. “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.”
AT&T didn’t offer specifics on content packages attached to these streaming packages, including the possible availability of DirecTV’s very popular NFL Sunday Ticket.
No pricing was offered either. So for now, it’s difficult to compare AT&T’s packages with the competition, which would broadly appear to include Netflix, Dish’s Sling TV service and Verizon’s Go90 — and possibly T-Mobile’s BingeOn. More than a year ago DirecTV competitor Dish launched its Sling TV live streaming service.
AT&T seems to be aiming at approximately 20 million U.S. households that don’t currently subscribe to pay TV offerings.
AT&T acquired DirecTV for $48.5 billion in 2015.