AT&T has positioned itself to take a shot at changing the game of television, with the company’s new DirecTV online service, DirecTV Now, hoping to break through with consumers as a viable alternative to cable — an effort where predecessors including Dish Network’s Sling TV and Sony’s PlayStation Vue appear to be coming up short.
The AP reports that DirecTV Now “has the size to get better deals from entertainment companies, who have slowly come around to the idea of streaming. And if that doesn’t work, watch for a live-TV operation from Hulu early next year. And maybe one from Google. Or, who knows, maybe even Apple, too.”
“Americans are increasingly dissatisfied with how much they pay for what’s on TV,” the report notes. “The number of customers paying cable and satellite operators for TV has dropped nearly 3 million, to roughly 97 million, in the past two years, according to industry experts MoffettNathanson Research.”
The article adds: “If an online cable service could figure out how to get customers to pay up, it could attract millions of people.”
But Forrester analyst Jim Nail is quoted in the report saying: “No one has really delivered the right combination of content, price and ease that will get people to make that call to their current provider and say sayonara.”
The story cites SNL Kagan estimates indicating that about 14.4 million households pay for Internet but not TV. “AT&T sees the potential market for DirecTV Now as 20 million homes,” the story reports.
“Having the muscle of AT&T and DirecTV, together the country’s largest video provider, behind DirecTV Now may help it shake out more attractive packages from entertainment conglomerates,” the report notes. “AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said in October that the $35-a-month service will offer more than a hundred ‘premium’ channels.”