AT&T announced that it is holding a DirecTV Now launch event Monday, Nov. 28, in New York City, where it will unveil more details about the new internet-delivered TV service that promises to shake up the industry with an aggressive pricing strategy.
AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson last month announced a $35 starting price point for DirecTV Now, and said the over-the-top bundle will include more than 100 channels. Premium channels including HBO and Starz also will be available.
While AT&T doesn’t position DirecTV Now as a “skinny bundle” — especially compared with Dish Network’s lower-priced Sling TV, which starts with about 30 channels — the service is priced considerably lower than traditional pay-TV packages.
The telco has held its cards close to the vest ahead of DirecTV Now’s official launch. But according to documents viewed by Variety, AT&T is planning to offer various sign-up incentives to recruit subscribers. Customers who commit to three months of the service will get a free Apple TV (worth $150), while those who pay for one month will receive an Amazon Fire TV Stick ($35).
The DirecTV Now documents also revealed that many networks will support a 72-hour “catch-up window” to let users watch shows from the past three days; ESPN is among the networks excluded from the replay feature but customers can log in to WatchESPN to view select past programming. DirecTV Now also will include a video-on-demand library of up to 14,000 titles. (AT&T has declined to comment.)
“If you can bring a compelling price point and a compelling content package and some innovation with it,” Stephenson told analysts on AT&T’s third-quarter 2016 earnings call, “we are absolutely convinced that this is going to be very, very attractive for a large group of customers who really aren’t even in the market today.”
Sony’s PlayStation Vue is also a player in the over-the-top pay-TV segment, while Hulu plans to debut a live TV service in early 2017 and Google’s YouTube is assembling a service it is calling YouTube Unplugged.