AT&T TV Launches, Shoves AT&T Now Aside

AT&T TV Now — once the key service in AT&T’s video strategy and launched just three years ago — could soon be joining Sony’s PlayStation Vue in the streaming TV graveyard.

In a note to investors last week, MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson said that the virtual multichannel video programming distributor — recently rechristened from its original moniker, DirecTV Now — “is essentially exiting the business.”

Certainly, it’s a stunning fall from grace for a live-streaming platform that boasted 1.8 million users as of the middle of 2018, but has declined to only around 1.1 million as of the end of the third quarter.

AT&T some time ago stopped offering aggressive promotions for the platform — everything from free Roku devices to months of free service to unlimited wireless subscribers.

And the wireless giant is well on the way to replacing AT&T TV Now with the confusingly named AT&T TV, which is basically a streamed version of DirecTV satellite TV.

AT&T TV, which just rolled into four more markets, is being piloted in around 15 regions, with a national launch scheduled for next year. It delivers a full-featured bundle of over 70 channels, including a 500-Gigabyte DVR and free Android TV set-top, for $60 a month.

This more than undercuts the value proposition of the vMVPD, which launched in November 2016 delivering a fairly robust bundle of channels for $35 a month, but is now offering only around 45 channels for $65 a month.

Speaking at the Wells Fargo Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Dec. 3, AT&T chief financial officer John Stephens talked up AT&T TV, as well as the conglomerate’s soon-to-launch HBO Max SVOD platform.

He noted, for example, that with AT&T no longer putting satellite dishes on top of houses, and enabling the customer to install AT&T TV themselves, “There’s going to be significant capital efficiency.”

Not once, though, was the former centerpiece to the wireless company’s video strategy, AT&T Now, even mentioned.

Daniel Frankel

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!