For months now DIRECTV NOW subscribers using the new AT&T streaming player said they felt like beta testers for the new DIRECTV service. Now AT&T’s President of Mobility and Entertainment David Christopher confirmed that this is the case today in an interview with FierceVideo.
Here is what David Christopher told FierceVideo: “Christopher said that AT&T built its new streaming box for the service [the new DIRECTV streaming service] because the company believes it wouldn’t get all the benefits if it had just made the new DirecTV service an application.” FierceVideo went on to say: “Christopher reiterated the benefits that AT&T executives have previously laid out, namely the low-cost piece of hardware that consumers can install, which will help lower the cost of customer acquisition by eliminating the need for truck rolls and installers climbing ladders to put satellite dishes on roofs.”
In recent months AT&T has been downplaying DIRECTV NOW in favor of their new WarnerMedia services and the new DIRECTV streaming service. Planned updates to DIRECTV NOW seem to have been canceled like the DIRECTV NOW DVR add-on that would offer extra DVR storage for a price. For years AT&T talked about new add-ons to DIRECTV NOW as a way to make more income now AT&T executives rarely mention DIRECTV NOW except when asked about it.
Recently AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said AT&T plans to launch it’s “thin” streaming only version of DIRECTV later this year. The price of this new service will be lower but he did not give any details on how low or what channels it will offer.
Now according to WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey on CNBC, AT&T plans to merge DIRECTV NOW into WarnerMedia. Later this year, WarnerMedia plans to launch a Netflix like streaming service for about $16 to $17 a month. AT&T reportedly plans to merge DIRECTV NOW into this service with a unified search and user interface. This again points to AT&T using DIRECTV NOW as a beta test for the new DIRECTV service.
John Stankey did use the word “eventually”, meaning it may not happen when WarnerMedia’s subscription service launches later this year. AT&T likely plans to merge DIRECTV NOW into WarnerMedia. This is probably the reason we have seen AT&T reduce the focus on the service. What we do know right now is AT&T is using DIRECTV NOW as a beta test for their new DIRECTV streaming service.
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