AT&T’s new $15/mo OTT TV service won’t include sports and it will be free for AT&T Unlimited wireless customers
There’s a new streaming TV service in the works at AT&T, according to AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson (pictured), who revealed the plans as he defended his company’s $85 billion plan to merge with Time Warner Thursday. He used the upcoming $15/mo service, which has been dubbed AT&T Watch, to counter Justice Department’s claim about the company’s continually climbing prices for its DirecTV satellite service, according to a report from Variety.
The Justice Department argues, that if the merger goes through, AT&T will raise the price on Time Warner’s Turner Networks like CNN, TNT, and Cartoon Network, in a way that would negatively impact other pay TV providers. In response, Stephenson said that the idea that “somehow Turner’s content is worth more [after the merger] defies logic to me.”
Stephenson said that the new service, which is expected to launch in the coming weeks, will not offer sports programming and will be free for AT&T Unlimited wireless customers. No other details were given about the service.
Why it Matters?
While US pay-TV providers are still the kings of the castle in terms of revenue — Convergence Research estimates pay-TV revenue will hit $107.4 billion this year, $79 billion more than OTT services — their subscriber base is steadily dropping. AT&T’s DirecTV lost 147,000 customers in the fourth quarter of 2017 alone and with a 60,000 drop in subscribers, the company’s Uverse service isn’t doing much better. The introduction of a low-cost OTT TV service would allow AT&T to offer cord-cutters a cheaper alternative to its pay-TV service, keeping the consumer apart of the AT&T family, even if the return is less.
AT&T already offers a streaming TV service, DirecTV Now, but at $35/mo, the service is on the high end compared to its competitors like DISH’s SlingTV. AT&T Watch’s $15/mo price point makes it the most affordable streaming services on the market — less than Sling TV’s entry-level, $20/mo package and $1 less than Philo’s, sports-free offering, priced at $16 per month.
And with AT&T Watch being free for AT&T Unlimited wireless customers, it gives subscribers to the plan a reason to check it out and potentially drop any OTT TV service they might already subscribe to. Of Course, much of this will depend on AT&T Watch’s channel line up, which, as of now, is unknown.