DirecTV Now Leak Reveals Channels, Promotions, Challenges of AT&T’s TV Service (EXCLUSIVE)

AT&T is prepared to go all out on behalf of its new DirecTV Now service: The company is looking to give away Apple TV and Fire TV Stick devices to consumers who sign up for its TV streaming service, according to customer-support documents Variety discovered after they were inadvertently released by the company online.

The documents also shed light on which channels are part of the service that they haven’t yet announced, as well as further details about its VOD library and other key features.

AT&T didn’t respond to multiple requests for comment.

The leaked documents detail that consumers who are willing to commit to at least three months of paid service will be able to get a free Apple TV as part of a device promotion. Consumers who pay for one month will get a free Fire TV streaming stick. Both devices are more expensive on their own than the service charges consumers would have to pay to qualify for each promotion.

AT&T officially announced DirecTV Now as an internet-based live TV service earlier this year. The telco has since given us some idea about the programming, announcing deals with Disney, NBCUniversal and Viacom as well as Scripps, A&E Networks, Discovery, HBO, and Starz. Last month, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson announced that DirecTV Now will cost $35 per month and carry more than 100 channels when it launches in the coming weeks.

The leaked customer-support documents didn’t include complete channel lineups — those also depend on the local markets of subscribers — but they do give us a better idea of which other channels DirecTV Now aims to launch with. A partial list of channels included not only networks from the aforementioned partners, but also Univision networks like Galavision, Univision and UniMas, Fox and MundoFox, CBS, HDNet Movies, the Hallmark Channel and the Sony Movie Channel.

Some of the channels DirecTV Now aims to launch with.

It’s worth mentioning that this could be a preliminary list that could change before the actual launch. Also, not every channel may be available to every subscriber.

That’s not only because of local rights, but also because that $35 monthly subscription fee apparently only gets users a base package, with the option to add more programming for an additional price. “With DIRECTV NOW®, you can stream live TV and On Demand programming with several packages to choose from. Premium channels like HBO and Cinemax can be added at any time,” the documents state.

Many, but not all of the networks, will support a 72-hour catch-up window, making it possible to watch shows you missed for up to three days after the original airing. Notably absent from the catch-up list is ESPN. However, consumers will be able to sign into ESPN’s own apps to catch up on content with their DirecTV Now credentials. In addition, DirecTV Now will also include a VOD library of up to 14,000 titles.

But there are some oddities within DirecTV Now’s lineup. One example: Subscribers will be able to stream local programming from NBC in some markets, but only on PCs and mobile devices. “NBC local channels are currently unavailable using streaming devices or smart TVs,” the leaked documents explain. (NBC didn’t respond to a request for comment from Variety.) 

DirecTV Now will give consumers a 7-day free trial. Consumers who chose not to pay after their trial period will automatically be downgraded to DirecTV Freeview, a free, ad-supported tier with limited content.

Again, it’s worth mentioning that many of these details could change when AT&T actually launches the service. But given the level of detail, as well as the fact that the launch seems to be just around the corner, it’s just as likely that many details will make it into the final product.

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