Well, as the hacks like to say, it’s official—AT&T has stopped selling its 14-year-old IPTV pay TV platform, U-verse TV.
“Current U-verse TV customers will continue to experience the same great service, however new U-verse TV packages can no longer be purchased,” AT&T said on its U-verse page. (Tip of ol’ ball cap to analyst Phillip Swann, aka the TV Answer Man, for catching this first.)
That page is now primarily devoted to selling AT&T TV, the recently launched internet-based pay TV service. But U-verse TV, which was originally part of an initiative dubbed “Project Lightspeed" and launched in 2006 as part of an aggressive AT&T fiber buildout, has been marginalized for a while now.
U-verse TV ended 2019 with 3.44 million subscribers, down 264,000 year over year. But the figure is slightly more than half of the 6 million subscribers U-verse TV had at the beginning of 2015, before AT&T consummated its $50 billion takeover of DirecTV and began prioritizing its satellite TV brand.
Can we expect a similar cease and desist for sales of other legacy AT&T pay TV platforms? AT&T TV Now, the virtual MVPD formally branded DirecTV Now, is undercut in price by AT&T TV, at least in the first promotional year of the new premium service, with the vMVPD charging more money for fewer channels.
But unlike AT&T TV, the vMVPD has no contract, and it can be signed up for and quit immediately. This ostensibly leaves a market available to AT&T TV Now, which is based on the same technology platform as AT&T TV.
As for DirecTV satellite, AT&T executives say there is still a market for satellite TV in harder to reach rural markets.
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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!