AT&T’s upcoming DirecTV Now streaming service is going to cost $35 a month, revealed AT&T chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson during a panel at the Wall Street Journal’s WSJ.D Live conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., Tuesday. The package will include more than 100 channels, he said.
This price point is a significant departure from the company’s previous stance, when it suggested that it would launch a premium product that wasn’t looking to undercut existing pay TV services. Stephenson argued that it can afford this lower price point because DirecTV Now doesn’t require operator-owned set-top boxes, satellite dishes, and customer service home visits.
AT&T is set to launch DirecTV Now next month. The service will include channels from cablers like A+E Networks and Scripps, as well as broadcasters like Fox and NBCUniversal.
Stephenson appeared on stage together with Time Warner chairman and CEO Jeff Bewkes. The appearance at the conference was just the latest stop for Bewkes and Stephenson, who have been on an extended media tour since the announcement of AT&T’s bid to buy Time Warner.
At the WSJ.D Live conference, Stephenson said that his company will use Time Warner as a launch pad for experimentation, which could include a la carte offerings. He argued that the acquisition wasn’t about preserving the status quo. “I don’t think you can characterize it as defensive,” he said.
At the same time, Stephenson promised that he wants to keep Time Warner as a wholly owned, separate subsidiary. “I’ve never run a movie studio. I don’t know the first thing about it,” he said.
AT&T announced Saturday that it wants to acquire Time Warner for $84.5 billion. Both companies expect the acquisition to close by the end of 2017.