AT&T TV

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AT&T TV
Formerly
DirecTV Now (2016–2019)
Subsidiary
IndustryPay television
FoundedNovember 30, 2016; 3 years ago (2016-11-30)
HeadquartersEl Segundo,
California
,
United States
Area served
United States
ServicesOTT Internet Television
ParentAT&T Communications
Websitewww.att.com/tv/

AT&T TV is a family of streaming multichannel television services offered in the United States by AT&T.

The brand encompasses three separate services sharing similar infrastructure and software.[1][2][3] AT&T TV, launched nationally in March 2020, is the company's main national pay television service, positioned to succeed U-verse TV. 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 TV Now (formerly DirecTV Now) is a direct-to-consumer service launched on November 30, 2016, designed to compete with other over-the-top television services, and sold without a contract.[4][5] AT&T WatchTV,[3][6] first offered in June 2018, is a skinny bundle service aimed at cord cutters, featuring no local or sports channels.[7][8]

History[edit]

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.[9][10][11]

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.[12] 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.[13]

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.[14] 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".[15][16][17][18] 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.[1][2]

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.[19][20]

On March 2, 2020, AT&T TV launched nationally.[21] 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.[22] 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.[23]

Programming[edit]

The service consists of four main bundles, including the base "Entertainment" service, "Choice" (which adds regional sports networks), "Xtra", and "Ultimate".[21]

Now version[edit]

AT&T TV Now logo

The service's current base package "Plus" includes channels from co-owned division WarnerMedia as well as the four other major television conglomerates: The Walt Disney Company, Fox Corporation, NBCUniversal, and ViacomCBS.[24] The "Max" package adds HBO, Cinemax, Universal Kids, and various additional sports channels.

Previous packages also included channels from AMC Networks, Discovery, and A&E Networks. They are not included in the current base package offerings, but are still accessible to existing subscribers.[25][12]

WatchTV version[edit]

AT&T's WatchTV service currently offers linear channels owned by its fellow division WarnerMedia, as well as A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and ViacomCBS.[citation needed] The service is no longer open to new subscribers.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b 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.
  2. ^ a b 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.
  3. ^ a b 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "AT&T Sets DirecTV Now Launch Event for Nov. 28". Variety. Variety. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ AT&T’s low-cost TV streaming service WatchTV goes live - TechCrunch, 29 June 2018
  8. ^ "AT&T Chief on HBO Max, DirecTV Sale Prospects and John Stankey's Future". Variety. October 28, 2019. Retrieved April 13, 2020.
  9. ^ Lawler, Richard (July 13, 2017). "AT&T's 'next-gen' TV platform rollout will start on DirecTV Now". Engadget. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  10. ^ Lieberman, David (July 13, 2017). "AT&T To Offer Cloud-Based DVR To Streaming Services". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  11. ^ Frankel, Daniel (July 13, 2017). "DirecTV Now to finally get cloud DVR as part of AT&T video platform rollout". Fierce Cable. Retrieved July 13, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Brodkin, Jon (2019-03-12). "AT&T raises DirecTV Now price—again—after promising lower post-merger bills". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  13. ^ Brodkin, Jon (2019-07-25). "AT&T loses nearly 1 million TV customers after raising DirecTV prices". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  14. ^ "AT&T's New Online TV Service Looks a Lot Like Current Offerings". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved 2019-08-30.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ Blumenthal, Eli. "What is AT&T TV? Here's what we know now". CNET. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  17. ^ Brodkin, Jon (2019-07-30). "AT&T kills DirecTV Now brand name as TV subscribers leave in droves". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  18. ^ "AT&T changes DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now". FierceVideo. Retrieved 2019-07-31.
  19. ^ "AT&T sued for allegedly inflating DirecTV Now numbers with fake accounts". FierceVideo. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  20. ^ "AT&T faked DirecTV Now numbers, lawsuit alleges". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-09-19.
  21. ^ a b 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.
  22. ^ Brodkin, Jon (2020-03-04). "Struggling AT&T plans "tens of billions" in cost cuts, more layoffs". Ars Technica. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  23. ^ AT&T's massive TV losses continue as another 900,000 customers flee
  24. ^ Bouma, Luke (2019-04-05). "DIRECTV NOW Plus & Max Are Adding Viacom Channels Today". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved 2019-10-04.
  25. ^ Bouma, Luke (2019-03-10). "Here Is Every Channel DIRECTV NOW Plus & DIRECTV NOW MAX Offer". Cord Cutters News. Retrieved 2019-07-31.

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