November 28, 2016
I'm in NY today at the launch of DirectTV Now — AT&T's new video streaming service. The key points are:
- Live TV plus on-demand streaming
- Packages starting at 60 channels for $35 per month up to 120 channels for $70 — with a special deal to get the 100 channel package (normally $60) for $35, for as long as you remain a customer
- The channel line up is all the good stuff — not padded with niche channels nobody ever watches.
- The catches: No CBS or Showtime yet — though they are working on it. No NFL Sunday Ticket, but they're working on it.
- Extensive distribution through all AT&T outlets and resellers, plus deals with Amazon and Apple TV.
- A special AT&T exclusive deal with Taylor Swift for original video.
- Their focus is the 20 million people not already in the pay-TV ecosystem: people who couldn't pass a credit check to get satellite DirectTV and apartment/MDU dwellers.
My colleague James McQuivey has written how the TV distribution business/MVPD ecosystem will wither as Cord Nevers who grow up with Netflix, et. al, never develop a relationship with a traditional MVPD. But under today's streaming offerings, they'd have no live TV, or they'd have to get a digital antenna and hook it up. So at some point, many of them would likely succumb to an MVPD.
Until now. With AT&T's Direct TV Now service, these cord nevers won't need much more — and presumably AT&T will fill in the few holes as the service grows: the holdouts won't be able to stay out of the package.
In other words, Cord Nevers will become Cord Never-Evers.
And we know what AT&T's new BFF Taylor Swift has to say about getting back together.