Back in March, AT&T first announced plans to introduce the DirecTV Now online TV service; since then, we've heard about deals with new content providers, but we haven't heard specifics about pricing and the anticipated launch date...until now. AT&T president and CEO Randall Stephenson said earlier this week that DirecTV Now will launch by the end of November and will cost just $35 for over 100 channels. We still don't know the exact channel lineup, but AT&T has deals in place with Disney, NBC Universal, HBO, Turner, AMC Networks, Viacom, Starz, and others.
From Multichannel News
DirecTV Now, AT&T's emerging OTT-TV service, will cost $35 per month and offer 100-plus "premium" channels, AT&T president and CEO Randall Stephenson said Tuesday at The Wall Street Journal DLive conference.
That price will also include the customer's mobile streaming cost, he said.
"We think this is big," Stephenson said, while also joining the chorus at AT&T that the service will be a "game-changer" whose intent is to to bring a "new, different competitor [to] the cable ecosystem."
Stephenson also shed a little more detail on the launch date, noting that DirecTV Now will debut by the end of November.
The plan is to target the 20 million homes or so that have left the "premium content ecosystem" he said.
Programming costs aside (DirecTV's lineup hasn't been announced), Stephenson said DirecTV Now will be able to get to that price point with an app-based approach that doesn't require a satellite dish, expensive truck rolls and set-tops that cost hundreds of dollars.
Regarding programming, Stephenson acknowledged that content costs are not going to be flat, so the plan, which factors in the proposed merger of Time Warner, is to "develop new ad models" that enable the company to keep price points in check and offset inevitable content price increases.
"We all need more competition in advertising," said Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes, who joined Stephenson on stage, citing a "duopoly" that has emerged on the digital side with Facebook and Google. "There's one thing they love, and that's innovation and competition. And we are here to help," Bewkes quipped.
Calling Time Warner a "launching pad for innovation," Stephenson also said the combined company will also look to test "third rails that the industry will not and has not touched," and that will include how to bring a la carte pricing into the system.
To read the complete Multichannel News story, click here.