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Well Connected: AT&T’s Dan York

Apr 17, 2008  •  Post A Comment

The player: Dan York, executive VP of content and programming for AT&T
The play: Mr. York led AT&T’s U-verse fiber-optic television service from its late 2004 inception to its June 2006 launch, during which time he helped negotiate about 150 licensing agreements with content providers. U-verse, which has about 45 linear high-definition channels, is planning for about 100 by the end of the year, although Mr. York declined to say when the service would have video-on-demand in HD. U-verse, which reported about 230,000 subscribers in December, expects to have more than 1 million subscribers by the end of the year.
The pitch: Like Verizon’s FiOS service, AT&T says it provides cost savings by bundling U-verse with AT&T’s telephone and high-speed Internet services, which satellite television customers are unable to do. More importantly, because of U-verse’s use of Internet protocol, “our video and audio quality is considered superior to our competitors,” said Mr. York. He added that a higher percentage of U-verse subscribers opt for its high-definition package than customers at competing cable and satellite services.
The next-generation effect: Mr. York hopes the emergence of Sony’s Blu-ray high-definition disc player in the next-generation format war will boost demand for U-verse’s HD packages by fueling HDTV sales. “That will spur a lot of people sitting on the sidelines,” Mr. York said. “As we ramp up the amount of VOD hours, we expect HD VOD will be very popular for us.”
Backstory: Mr. York, 44, joined AT&T in 2004 after 13 years at Time Warner unit HBO, where he was general manager of the network’s pay-per-view sports division and also worked in marketing and distribution. He was also head of programming at PPV service In Demand Networks for four years. Based in Los Angeles, Mr. York was raised in Michigan and attended Michigan State.

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