AT&T is no longer offering AT&T TV Now to new customers, following declining subscriber numbers. It has merged with the AT&T TV premium service, with pricing more like traditional cable and satellite packages but without an annual contract. AT&T is streamlining its television offering and seeking to sell off its DIRECTV satellite operation and possibly its U-verse service delivered over fibre.
Current AT&T TV Now contracts will remain in effect until they expire and will then move to monthly payments. The company says that users will not see any interruptions to service.
The phasing out of AT&T TV Now follows a confusion of shifting streaming strategies and market messages.
AT&T first introduced the low-cost online service in December 2016, originally as DIRECTV NOW, initially at $35 per month.
At its peak in the third quarter of 2018, it had 1.86 million subscribers. That fell to 683,000 by the end of September 2020.
Meanwhile, competing online television services from Sling TV, YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV are continuing to grow subscribers.
“We’re bringing more value and simplicity by merging these two streaming services into a single AT&T TV experience,” said Vince Torres, senior vice president of marketing at AT&T, in a statement. “Customers can stream the best collection of live and on-demand programming on devices they already have, or they can get our exclusive AT&T TV Stream device to enjoy enhanced features and functionality.”
Pricing starts at $69.99 for the Entertainment Package and go up to $94.99 for the Ultimate Package which includes more than 130 channels and a free year of HBO Max.
That leaves AT&TV TV as the online offering, together with DIRECTV delivered by satellite and U-verse over fibre. It is not offering its AT&T TV service to its satellite or fibre customers. There are suggestions that AT&T is seeking to sell off DIRECTV and possibly its U-verse operation, which it ceased offering to new customers in April 2020.
Chief financial officer John Stephens recently said that AT&T continues to take a thoughtful and thorough approach to monetizing non-core strategic assets and investing capital effectively.
AT&T reported a loss of 590,000 premium television subscribers in the third quarter of 2020, ending the period with 17.10 million.