Bloomberg sources claim AT&T forecasts streaming will become principal platform within 3 – 5 years.
AT&T is planning to release a DirecTV-branded streaming video service later this year, but according to Bloomberg, it also expects for that to become its primary video platform soon. Earlier this week, its CEO Randall Stephenson confirmed the DirecTV Now launch is still on track for 2017, calling it an exclusively over the top product, with no truck roll, no set-top box or anything else. The report claims that at launch it will be limited to two simultaneous streams, with pricing similar to the $40 – $55 per month PlayStation Vue service.
What does this mean for consumers ? Right now we do not have the specifics of this announcement and they have not provided any exact costings on how much DirecTV Now or DirecTV Mobile will cost or whether they will compete directly with their existing package like the all included package which offers consumers every station or the double and triple play package options . We’ll have more details about DirecTV Now when we hear about it, but we do know is that it’s still on track to launch by the end of this year. And we also know that HBO & Cinemax will also be a part of AT&T’s mobile video offerings, and things should stay relatively the same for DirecTV and At&t Uverse customers.
DirecTV Now will also be competing directly with other web-streaming services like Dish Network Corp.’s Sling TV, where pricing starts at $20 for the introductory 28-channel and runs up to $40 for a 48-channel multi-screen package.Depending on DirecTV Now’s success, AT&T could expand it to include up to 10 streams offering the kind of full-package that could replace the old conventional pay-TV. This is definitely the way of the future so embrace it get left behind.
Randall Stephenson (transcription via Seeking Alpha)
Sure. An MVPD like product. So I think 100 premium channels in a purely over-the-top platform with a completely different cost structure. I mean, this is a very unique cost structure and a very unique platform. We have built this from the ground up. We spent the last year plus developing this platform. And it starts with how does the customer subscribe to the service?
They download an app on their smartphone, their smart TV or their tablet, they subscribe purely digitally, they select their content digitally, they interact with us digitally, the billing is purely an online billing arrangement. This is a very, very low cost customer acquisition product. It is a very low cost to install product meaning the customer has just done it once they downloaded the app. There are no set-top boxes, they are no truck rolls involved in this.
So we are kind of re-platformed all of the cost for this product, and it’s a very, I mean, nominal incremental cost to provision this. So to your point, we had to acquire content rights, and being the largest scale TV provider in the U.S. gave us a lot of opportunity to get a best-in-class cost structure around this content. We’ve been very aggressive about this over the last year.
And we’ve been doing what I would consider some win-win arrangements with the content providers. The content providers, I believe are [indiscernible] referred to it that he is happy with the arrangement we struck. And so you put the different cost structure, kind of a unique position content cost together. And we can’t put together a product that is — I’m going to call it thinner, not thin margins, but thinner than what we’re accustom to. But I’m always willing to take thinner margins, when there is low capital intensity in the product.
So we think we’re going to be able to meet a price point, that’s very, very aggressive in the marketplace. And keep in mind, it’s a product that is integrated with our wireless service. And it’s also integrated with our broadband our home broadband service.
And so to the extent, that is driving additional penetration or further penetration, wireless or driving churn down in wireless, the lifetime value of a customer with this kind of product is actually quite attractive and very positive. So that’s why we’re so excited about it.