In recent months many have noticed that AT&T is not talking about DIRECTV NOW as much as they used to. We are seeing fewer ads for the service, there are less promotional deals, and even announced add-ons never came into being. Now AT&T is making it clear that DIRECTV NOW is no longer their focus when compared to DIRECTV and the new WarnerMedia service.
“We have emphasized [DIRECTV NOW] slightly less than we did when it first launched because we are focused more on other elements of the portfolio,” said AT&T’s Mobility and Entertainment President David Christophe at the Bank of America/Merrill Lynch Telecom and Media Conference this week. Earlier in the talk, David Christophe said that AT&T has a portfolio of Tv services including DIRECTV and the new WarnerMedia service. With this statement, it seems clear that DIRECTV and the new WarnerMedia service are a bigger focus for AT&T than DIRECTV NOW.
This all comes as AT&T’s Mobility and Entertainment President also announced that DIRECTV NOW’s Android TV streaming player is a beta test for the new DIRECTV thin streaming service.
Recently AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said they plan to launch a “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 will be offered.
In recent months, AT&T has been downplaying DIRECTV NOW in favor of their new WarnerMedia service 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.
AT&T has decided to focus on the new WarnerMedia and DIRECTV. That does not mean DIRECTV NOW is coming to an end, just that AT&T is not focusing on the service like they once did.
This supports what WarnerMedia’s CEO John Stankey said on CNBC a few weeks ago that AT&T plans to merge DIRECTV NOW into WarnerMedia’s new streaming service.
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. Stankey did use the word “eventually”, meaning it may not happen when WarnerMedia’s subscription service launches later this year.
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