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AT&T's vMVPD Biz Comes Full Circle with 'DirecTV Stream' Rebrand

DirecTV Stream
(Image credit: DirecTV)

The erstwhile DirecTV Now has come full circle. Almost. 

As part of AT&T's just-completed spinoff of its premium pay TV services to a joint venture operated by private equity firm TPG, the streaming portion of the portfolio has been rebranded into one service called "DirecTV Stream." 

That will now be the "single brand for video streaming services previously launched by AT&T, excluding HBO Max," AT&T said in its announcement Monday. DirecTV satellite TV will remain a separate service, as will U-verse TV, which AT&T stopped selling to new customers several years ago. (Notably, U-verse TV rated No. 1 among U.S. pay TV platforms in a recent customer satisfaction survey.)

AT&T streaming video services not named HBO Max include AT&T TV Now, the virtual MVPD that was originally launched in November 2016 under the "DirecTV Now" moniker. AT&T rebranded skinny-bundled live-streaming service, originally valued priced at $35 a month, as AT&T TV Now in the summer of 2019, as it prepared to launch a more premium IP-based, full-bundle pay TV platform, AT&T TV, featuring traditional contracts and largesse. 

In January, AT&T announced that AT&T TV Now and AT&T TV would be merged into one service, with the AT&T TV's proprietary Android TV-based set-top being an optional accessory. 

At the end of Q1, AT&T reported just under 15.9 million remaining "premium TV" customers, a grouping that includes DirecTV satellite, AT&T TV streaming and legacy service U-verse TV. 

In AT&T's little shell game, it's hard to discern how many subscribers each individual platform has at this point. 

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. His reliable mid-range jump shot, deft ambidextrous post-up game and tough interior defense have been criminally overlooked.