AT&T Offering DirecTV As A Streaming Service

With streaming video on the rise, AT&T reaches out to consumers with three different packages through its DirecTV service. It also shows how traditional carriers and cable companies are offering services through the Internet without dishes and set-top boxes.

Nathan Eddy, Freelance Writer

March 2, 2016

3 Min Read
<p align="left">(Image: RiverNorthPhotography/iStockphoto)</p>

MWC 2016 Best In Show: Galaxy S7, LG's G5, More

MWC 2016 Best In Show: Galaxy S7, LG's G5, More

MWC 2016 Best In Show: Galaxy S7, LG's G5, More (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

AT&T is readying a new service that will allow user to access and stream DirecTV video services over a wired or wireless Internet connection from a variety of providers. In addition, customers can virtually use any device, including smartphones, tablets, smart televisions, streaming media hardware, or PCs.

The three options are on schedule to become available in the fourth quarter of 2016, and the services will not require annual contracts, satellite dishes, or set-top boxes.

Through the DirecTV Now offering, AT&T will offer a range of content packages, including much of what is available from DirecTV today, including on-demand and live programming from many networks, plus premium add-on options.

The DirecTV Mobile package offers a mobile-first user experience for customers who want to watch premium video and made-for-digital content directly on a smartphone, regardless of the wireless provider.

Finally, DirecTV Preview, a tailored ad-supported service, is a free offering to anyone with a wired or wireless Web connection. It will showcase content from AT&T's Audience Network and other content sources, including millennial-focused video from Otter Media.

Each service will come with a set number of simultaneous sessions, with AT&T Entertainment Group CEO John Stankey noting that the aim is to provide consumers with greater choice and flexibility.

"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 wrote in the March 1 announcement. "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."

The company noted it would continue to provide DirecTV's premium satellite TV entertainment service, which includes its lineup of live and on-demand programming choices and optional add-ons such as HBO, Showtime, and the company's NFL package.

In addition, customers will be able to access their programming on a slew of mobile devices, and AT&T will also continue to offer its U-verse TV and Internet service.

More than 60% of AT&T's network traffic is video, and the company boasts more than 60 million streams and downloads to their TV customers each month, according to the carrier.

The announcement could allow AT&T to better compete with rivals, such as Netflix, which offers a variety of streaming media content and original programming across devices, or Dish's Sling TV, an Internet TV service that launched in January 2015.

[Read about how AT&T will test 5G technology later this year.]

The digital streaming announcement follows AT&T's July acquisition of DirecTV, which made the company the largest pay TV provider in the US and the world.

"Having the largest number of pay-TV subs in the U.S. gives AT&T the scale it needs to compete in the OTT market, enabling it to acquire mobile and out-of-home rights," UBS analyst John Hodulik noted in a research report obtained by Investor's Business Daily. "The ability to sell pay-TV subscriptions nationally is one of the keys to AT&T's segmented mobile-video strategy."

Plans for the merger between AT&T and DirecTV were first announced in May 2014, for a transaction valued at $48.5 billion.

Rising stars wanted. Are you an IT professional under age 30 who's making a major contribution to the field? Do you know someone who fits that description? Submit your entry now for InformationWeek's Pearl Award. Full details and a submission form can be found here.

About the Author(s)

Nathan Eddy

Freelance Writer

Nathan Eddy is a freelance writer for InformationWeek. He has written for Popular Mechanics, Sales & Marketing Management Magazine, FierceMarkets, and CRN, among others. In 2012 he made his first documentary film, The Absent Column. He currently lives in Berlin.

Never Miss a Beat: Get a snapshot of the issues affecting the IT industry straight to your inbox.

You May Also Like

More Insights