Bloomberg is reporting that AT&T hopes to phase out DirecTV's satellite TV service in three to five years, to be replaced by the company's DirecTV Now online TV service. Scheduled to launch before year's end, DirecTV Now will begin as a budget-minded online service designed to compete against Dish's Sling TV and Sony's PlayStation Vue, but AT&T has plans to build a more robust online platform that will have a lot of channels and can be streamed to multiple locations within the home simultaneously.
AT&T Inc.'s online streaming TV service, DirecTV Now, will become the company's primary video platform in three to five years, according to people familiar with the plans.
The largest U.S. pay-TV provider has been working for more than a year to build a video-delivery system that can carry multiple live feeds to broadband-connected homes, said the people. Such a platform would eliminate the need for a cable hookup or satellite dish in five years or less, the people said.
DirecTV Now, set to be introduced by the end of this year, will try to appeal to a national audience of so-called cord-nevers -- some 20 million households that have no cable or satellite service -- with 100-plus channels and a choice of streaming to one or two devices simultaneously.
"This is exclusively an over-the-top product," Chief Executive Officer Randall Stephenson said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York Wednesday. "This is no set-top box; this is no truck roll; this is a customer pulling down an app, getting a very robust platform."
AT&T has been looking for ways to respond to online-only TV competitors like Netflix Inc. and Amazon.com Inc., which have been luring its customers away with lower-priced alternatives. AT&T acquired satellite-TV operator DirecTV for $48.5 billion last year, and so far in 2016 it's lost more than 100,000 TV customers.
Initially, DirecTV Now will be aimed at budget-minded consumers, and will stream free for AT&T wireless subscribers. The price of the service has yet to be finalized.
Read the rest of the Bloomberg article here.