AT&T has recently announced that the pricing for its DirecTV Now online video service is now at only $35 per month. A little more than a month ago, we reported that DirecTV Now will be debuting before the start of 2017, and many industry watchers fully expect the service to launch by November. The $35 a month pricing will cover the cost of the video streaming, as well as the 100 channels of programming.
According to Randall Stephenson, the chief executive officer of AT&T, the launch of the DirecTV Now is just one part of the wireless carrier’s overall effort to shake up the entire cable television market. Currently a telecoms giant (second only to Verizon Wireless as the biggest mobile operator in the United States), AT&T has put itself in a prime position to significantly impact the media industry, with its plans of acquiring media conglomerate Time Warner for a sum of $85.4 billion.
Turning to video content is a natural progression for a company like AT&T, which is looking to further diversity its business. Recent months have certainly seen the wireless carrier stay true to that pursuit -- last year, it completed its acquisition of satellite TV provider DirecTV for $48.5 billion. And now with the Time Warner deal, AT&T has truly been busy shopping.
Needless to say, last year’s DirecTV deal was an important early step, although it can not compete with the new Time Warner deal in terms of scope. Stephenson echoes this sentiment, pointing out the vastness of Time Warner’s media assets, which include popular cable TV channels like CNN and HBO, as well as as film studio Warner Bros. If approved by US regulators, the Time Warner deal could very well put AT&T on top in terms of offering the most in-demand programming.
Stephenson was quick to note, however, that Time Warner’s content will not be distributed exclusively by AT&T nor will the DirecTV package be limited only to what Time Warner can offer when it comes to programming. As stated earlier by AT&T, DirecTV Now will also offer content from partners such as Walt Disney, Viacom, and Scripps Networks Interactive.
Despite having snatched Time Warner, AT&T still has to contend with tough competition. Brands like Dish Network (with its Sling TV), Sony, and even streaming service providers like Hulu will definitely not sit idly by and watch AT&T get all the glory. But it is hard to deny the value of what AT&T has acquired, and if it can leverage it properly, it can offer a complete media package just in time for the carrier’s deployment of 5G a couple of years from now, which should surely have stream consuming mobile users salivating.
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