Such a pact would create a pay-TV behemoth that would rival the size of another juggernaut: Comcast, which is hoping to clear regulatory hurdles in pursuit of Time Warner Cable. While that MSO combination could total as many as 30 million subscribers, an AT&T-DirecTV pairing would amount to 26 million–nearly 6 million coming from AT&T’s own pay-TV service, U-Verse.
While DirecTV-AT&T would be a different kind of deal considering it would bring together two different varieties of TV distributors, the sheer size of the deal would likely also face regulatory scrutiny.
The pact comes as some surprise, though nearly every permutation of pay-TV giant has been bandied about in recent months as consolidation is all but sure to reconfigure the business in the face of challenges from the tech sector. AT&T and DirecTV already partner in some businesses, which makes the combination realistic, although there had been far more speculation that DirecTV and Dish Network would come together to form a super-sized satellite service.
Neither AT&T nor DirecTV commented in WSJ’s story.