|Formerly||DirecTV Now (2016–2019)|
AT&T TV (2019–2021)
|Founded||November 30, 2016|
|Headquarters||El Segundo, |
|Services||OTT Internet Television|
TPG Inc. (30%)
The brand encompasses three separate services sharing similar infrastructure and software. DirecTV Stream, launched nationally as AT&T TV in March 2020, is the streaming television counterpart to the traditional DirecTV satellite television service. It is sold on-contract and optionally bundled in the same manner as traditional television providers, but utilizes Android TV-based set-top boxes rented to subscribers. AT&T WatchTV, first offered in June 2018, is a skinny bundle service aimed at cord cutters, featuring no local or sports channels. AT&T TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) is a formerly-offered direct-to-consumer service launched on November 30, 2016, designed to compete with other over-the-top television services, and sold without a contract.
On July 13, 2017, it was reported that AT&T was preparing to introduce a cloud-based DVR streaming service as part of its effort to create a unified platform across the DirecTV satellite television service and DirecTV Now services, with U-verse to be added soon.
In March 2019, DirecTV Now instituted a new package structure for new subscribers with fewer channels included (although with HBO now included in the base package), and increased pricing for all subscribers. By the second quarter of 2019, DirecTV Now lost 168,000 subscribers (decreasing to 1.3 million), with AT&T citing "higher prices and less promotional activity" as reasoning.
On July 30, 2019, AT&T announced an upcoming streaming television service known as AT&T TV, which would feature an Android TV-based set-top box with a Google Assistant-based voice remote, use the same apps used by DirecTV Now, and offer cloud DVR with 500 hours of storage. Unlike DirecTV Now, this service is sold on a contract basis (and in bundles with AT&T Internet), and requires the rental or purchase of proprietary set-top boxes. The service allows user self-installation, but activation fees are still charged. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson referred to AT&T TV as a "workhorse" service succeeding DirecTV and AT&T U-verse in its pay television business. The service was initially launched in selected markets in California, Florida, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas, with additional markets to follow. Concurrently it was announced that DirecTV Now would re-brand as "AT&T TV Now". The similar names between the different services have been noted as possibly causing confusion, with media outlets even citing examples occurring within the company itself.
In September 2019, a class action lawsuit was filed against AT&T, alleging that it had falsely inflated its reported number of AT&T TV Now subscribers by engaging in "unrelenting pressure and strong-arm tactics" and giving unwanted subscriptions to the service to customers without their consent, as well as making false claims surrounding risks related to the service in its SEC filings related to the purchase of Time Warner.
On February 25, 2021, AT&T announced that it would spin off DirecTV, U-Verse and AT&T TV into a separate entity, selling a 30% stake to TPG Capital while retaining a 70% stake in the new standalone company. The deal was closed on August 2, 2021, at which point the provider adopted its current name.
In December 2022, DirecTV Stream announced it would raise prices to offset higher costs associated with distributing broadcast and cable networks to users. The price increases rolled out on January 22, 2023, with most customers paying between $5 and $10 extra for channels they already received. It was the second consecutive year DirecTV Stream raised prices on customers.
AT&T TV Now
The service's base package "Entertainment" (included channels from co-owned division WarnerMedia as well as the seven other major television conglomerates: The Walt Disney Company, Fox Corporation, NBCUniversal, Discovery, A&E Networks, AMC Networks, and ViacomCBS. The "Premiere" package adds HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz, and StarzEncore, and the various additional sports channels.
Previous packages started at $35.00 "Live a Little" (Replaced by "Entertainment") and ranged up to $70 "Gotta Have it" (Replaced by "Gotta Have It") these packages are no longer available, but are still accessible to existing subscribers. The packages currently offer the same channels as prior packages, just at a higher premium.
On March 2, 2020, AT&T TV launched nationally. AT&T president John Stankey stated that AT&T TV would be promoted as the company's main pay television service, with DirecTV being downplayed outside of markets with insufficient broadband quality to use AT&T TV. AT&T TV Now would struggle through 2019, with a loss of 138,000 subscribers in 2020 Q1 according to its quarterly earnings report. The service as a whole was down to 788,000 subscribers, compared to its peak of 1.86 million subscribers, before the large discounts to attract initial subscriber interest were scaled back.
On January 12, 2021, AT&T discontinued their Plus and Max plans to new subscribers, shifting them towards new AT&T TV packages (starting at $69.99). The packages are $15 more expensive than the previous base package, and includes channels owned by AMC Networks, Discovery Inc. and A+E Networks.
On January 13, 2021, AT&T announced it would stop selling AT&T TV Now to new customers, and instead redirect new and existing customers to AT&T TV. Per the AT&T TV Now website, there are no long-term contracts for AT&T TV and compatible consumer devices can be used.
AT&T's WatchTV service offered linear channels owned by its fellow division WarnerMedia, as well as A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and ViacomCBS. This service shut down on November 30, 2021.
- Brodkin, Jon (September 4, 2019). "AT&T's confusing mess of online TV services even has AT&T confused: AT&T forgot that "AT&T TV" and "AT&T TV Now" are different services". Ars Technica. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
- Bohn, Dieter (July 30, 2019). "Now that AT&T TV Now is the name for DIRECTV Now, you are free to be confused". The Verge. Retrieved March 30, 2020.
- Pendlebury, Ty (September 14, 2019). "AT&T TV Now review: Great interface and HBO don't make up for missing channels". Cnet. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- FitzGerald, Drew; Flint, Joe (October 29, 2019). "AT&T Lays Out Price, Show Lineup for HBO Max". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- AT&T's low-cost TV streaming service WatchTV goes live - TechCrunch, 29 June 2018
- "AT&T Chief on HBO Max, DIRECTV Sale Prospects and John Stankey's Future". Variety. October 28, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
- Gryta, Thomas (26 November 2016). "As AT&T's DIRECTV Now Streaming Service Is Unveiled, Watch the Details". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
- "AT&T Sets DIRECTV Now Launch Event for Nov. 28". Variety. 18 November 2016. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
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- Brodkin, Jon (2019-03-12). "AT&T raises DIRECTV Now price—again—after promising lower post-merger bills". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
- Brodkin, Jon (2019-07-25). "AT&T loses nearly 1 million TV customers after raising DIRECTV prices". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
- "AT&T's New Online TV Service Looks a Lot Like Current Offerings". Bloomberg. 19 August 2019. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- Newman, Jared (2019-08-19). "AT&T TV is here, but cord cutters should read the fine print before signing up". Fast Company. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
- Blumenthal, Eli. "What is AT&T TV? Here's what we know now". CNET. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
- Brodkin, Jon (2019-07-30). "AT&T kills DIRECTV Now brand name as TV subscribers leave in droves". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
- "AT&T changes DIRECTV Now to AT&T TV Now". FierceVideo. 30 July 2019. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
- "AT&T sued for allegedly inflating DIRECTV Now numbers with fake accounts". FierceVideo. 17 September 2019. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
- "AT&T faked DIRECTV Now numbers, lawsuit alleges". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
- Goldsmith, Jill (February 25, 2021). "WarnerMedia Parent AT&T Sells DIRECTV Stake To Private Equity Firm TPG". Deadline.
- Hayes, Dade (August 2, 2021). "AT&T Completes DIRECTV Spinoff; Satellite Operator Unites Its Internet-Delivered Bundles Under New Brand DIRECTV Stream". Deadline Hollywood.
- Keys, Matthew (2022-12-14). "DirecTV Stream to increase prices on all plans in January 2023". The Desk. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
- Miller, Chance (2022-12-16). "DirecTV Stream is getting more expensive, even for grandfathered legacy subscribers". 9to5Mac. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
- Keys, Matthew (2023-01-23). "Yep, your DirecTV Stream service just got more expensive - here's why prices went up". The Desk. Retrieved 2023-01-23.
- Munson, Ben (2021-12-15). "DirecTV Stream confirms $5 to $10 rate hikes for 2022". Fierce Video. Retrieved 2023-01-22.
- Welch, Chris (2020-03-02). "AT&T TV now available nationwide with Android TV set-top box — and a two-year contract". The Verge. Retrieved 2020-03-02.
- Bouma, Luke (2019-04-05). "DIRECTV NOW Plus & Max Are Adding Viacom Channels Today". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
- Gurwin, Jason (2021-01-12). "What's the Difference Between AT&T TV NOW and New AT&T TV Plans". The Streamable. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
- Brodkin, Jon (2020-03-04). "Struggling AT&T plans "tens of billions" in cost cuts, more layoffs". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
- AT&T's massive TV losses continue as another 900,000 customers flee
- "AT&T TV Now Shut Down for New Customers, Merged with AT&T TV". CordCuttersNews. 12 January 2021. Retrieved 2021-01-12.
- "AT&T TV NOW packages are no longer available for new customers". atttvnow.com. Retrieved 2021-01-13.