AT&T, which now owns satellite television provider DIRECTV, is planning to offer its video services over a wired or wireless internet connection from any provider and on virtually any screen, from smart phones to smart televisions. Three new services will be offered, without annual contracts or the need for satellite dishes or set-top boxes. They are expected to launch in the fourth quarter of 2016, in addition to the existing DIRECTV and U-verse television services.
DIRECTV Now will offer a range of programming packages, including much of what is available from DIRECTV today, with on-demand and live programming from many networks, with other premium options. Customers will be able to sign up for the service, download an app and begin watching over a wired or wireless internet connection.
DIRECTV Mobile will deliver a mobile-first user experience with premium video programming, regardless of wireless provider.
DIRECTV Previews will be a free advertising supported offer for anyone with a wired or wireless internet connection, featuring programming from DIRECTV.
“These new video subscription models reflect the flexible content choices, viewing options and simple, transparent pricing that consumers want. AT&T intends to be the first company to deliver that flexibility, along with an effortless customer experience,” said John Stankey, the chief executive of the AT&T Entertainment Group.
“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,” he 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.”
“We’re looking at customers that maybe historically we haven’t done an effective job of addressing. Maybe those that live in apartments or have a more transient type of living arrangements, where an over the top product is a great solution for that segment.”
AT&T will continue to provide DIRECTV’s premium satellite TV entertainment service. Customers will be able to access their programming on virtually all mobile devices, as they have been able to do for many years. AT&T also will continue to offer its U-verse TV and internet service.
DIRECTV reported a gain of 214,000 television subscribers in the United States in the last quarter of 2015, while AT&T U-verse lost 240,000. The two services now have almost 29 million television customers between them, according to the informitv Multiscreen Index.