This week AT&T announced it would launch three direct-to-consumer video services. Each is targeted at a different segment of the market, with different content and different business proposition. DirecTV Now might look a lot like Sling TV. Will that be a good or bad thing for the service?
AT&T will be releasing three new services later this year under the DirecTV brand:
- DirecTV Now: a subscription video service populated with DirecTV’s traditional satellite TV fare
- DirecTV Mobile: a subscription video service available over any mobile data network featuring premium content and web originals
- DirecTV Preview: a free-ad-supported video service available over any data network with a mix of TV and web originals.
I thought it was interesting that AT&T is taking a slightly different approach with its Mobile and Preview services than Verizon has with go90. Both companies will be running services that have yet to prove their value to consumers.
DirecTV Now seems to be a similar proposition to Sky’s UK Now TV service, although DirecTV Now has more flexibility with the content it provides and conditions under which users can watch it. Will thought DirecTV Now will look a lot like Sling TV, Dish’s OTT skinny bundle service. He didn’t think this is necessarily a good thing. It will likely come with lots of restrictions from the content providers. He didn’t think it would look like Playstation Vue, although an announcement today that Vue is cutting the entry price to $40 a month for 60 channels and adding Disney content like ESPN certainly makes it more attractive.
I think Sling TV is doing pretty well and beginning to find its niche. Dish says that many of the rumored 600,000 Sling TV customers come from the households that do not have pay TV. However, given that pay TV is still shrinking, I think some cannibalization is taking place.
The places I use Sling TV are when I’m on the go or on mobile devices around my house. TNT, TBS, and HGTV are great to watch while working out at the gym and I catch games on ESPN and movies on HBO at home.
Will is very skeptical about the opportunity for Sling TV and linear TV online. I’m much more optimistic. Sling TV is the only place I really watch linear TV now, and many people in the US still watch a lot of linear television. I think there are sizable number that will find the price, content and delivery mechanism the Sling TV provides very appealing.
I thought AT&T could leverage its relationship with Chenin Group to bring in content like Crunchy Roll and Fullscreen’s YouTube stars. Sling TV is also doing this, with services like Newsy and Flama.
Will wondered if we would see cable launch a national OTT video service. To date, they’ve resisted doing it. I think Comcast is already thinking about doing this and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the company launched something before the year is out.
Chapter 1: DirecTV Mobile, Preview (1:15)
Chapter 2: DirecTV Now (4:00)
Chapter 3: Where does the DirecTV Now user (7:00)
Chapter 4: The Sling TV value proposition (11:10)
Chapter 5: What will DirecTV Now look like? (16:00)
Chapter 6: Can web originals spice up DirecTV Now? (17:20)
Chapter 7: Will we see cable launch on OTT national service? (19:20)