The AT&T TV app is once again available in Roku’s Channel Store.
The app, which houses the AT&T TV Now virtual pay TV service, had been unavailable for Roku users to add to their channel portfolios since the beginning of January. (AT&T TV Now subscribers had been able to keep using their Roku devices to access their vMVPD service, provided they had already downloaded the app and didn’t delete it.)
The news was first reported by Cord Cutter News. Next TV editors were able to download the AT&T TV channel on Roku. The channel had to be searched for—in other words, it’s not listed as a “featured channel” that automatically surfaces.
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AT&T TV Now finished the first quarter with 788,000 users, less than half of what it peaked with during the summer of 2018, before AT&T pulled its aggressive promotions for the service. The re-inclusion of the AT&T TV app is probably more meaningful in that it signals that AT&T and Roku are engaged in productive negotiations regarding AT&T’s soon-to-launch new direct-to-consumer service, HBO Max.
Notably, last week, AT&T’s soon-to-be CEO, John Stankey, revealed that HBO Max will probably not launch with app support for Amazon Fire TV. Analysts suspect the complicated negotiation of how HBO Max is integrated into components like Amazon Prime Channels needs to be worked out.
But while Stankey was specifically pessimistic about exclusion from the No. 2 OTT device ecosystem in the U.S., AT&T has not locked down the No. 1 ecosystem for HBO Max, either.
Roku issued this statement last week: “As the #1 streaming platform in the US with over 40 million active accounts that rely upon Roku to access their favorite programs and to discover new content, we are focused on entering into win-win distribution agreements with all new OTT services as part of their launch strategies. While we don’t typically comment on specific deal terms or negotiations, the fact is that in this instance while we believe that HBOMax would benefit greatly from distribution on Roku at launch, we do not currently have an agreement in place.”
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