×

AT&T Killing Off ‘DirecTV Now’ Name as It Launches AT&T TV Streaming Service

Say goodbye to the “DirecTV Now” name.

Later this summer, AT&T will retire the name of the over-the-top TV service, first launched in December 2016, which will be rebranded “AT&T TV Now.” The change comes as the telco plans to launch test pilots in select markets of a new internet-streaming TV service, called AT&T TV.

Both the AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now services will be accessed through the same AT&T TV app on either mobile devices or connected TVs.

“As we roll out this new experience later this summer, current DirecTV Now customers will also see a new name — AT&T TV Now — appear on their screen,” the company said in announcing the change. DirecTV Now subscribers will have to re-accept terms of service, logging in using the same username and password.

The change comes as AT&T’s overall pay-TV business has seen steep subscriber losses: For Q2, AT&T reported a 778,000 net loss in DirecTV satellite and U-verse TV customers — and it shed 168,000 DirecTV Now subs, which it said stemmed from price hikes and fewer promotional offers. In the last 12 months, AT&T has lost some 2 million traditional pay-TV customers, down 8.6% year over year, and DirecTV Now’s subscriber base has shrunk 26%.

Meanwhile, AT&T is currently in the midst of contract fights with CBS and Nexstar Media Group, which has resulted in their channels dropping from DirecTV and U-verse.

AT&T hasn’t divulged pricing or packaging details for the new AT&T TV service, which will use a “thin client” internet set-top box. On the company’s Q2 earnings call on July 24, CEO Randall Stephenson said AT&T TV will slash customer-acquisition costs by 50% compared with the legacy DirecTV satellite service.

“The DirecTV [satellite] product is going to have a really long life,” he said. But the new AT&T TV service will deliver lower retail price points “and still have the same value equation from a customer standpoint.”

As he’s said previously, Stephenson characterized AT&T TV as the “workhorse” for the company’s pay-TV business over the next few years. “We will put our shoulder and our muscle behind AT&T TV, get a lower price point [and] shore up this customer base over the next couple of years,” he told analysts.

AT&T is revamping the OTT pay-TV portfolio as it preps for the launch of another new streaming service: HBO Max, a direct-to-consumer subscription video package that will include content from HBO and Warner Bros., reruns like “Friends” and “Pretty Little Liars,” original films and service — and, eventually, live news and sports, according to Stephenson. HBO Max is slated to debut commercially in spring 2020; AT&T has scheduled an investor briefing on HBO Max for Oct. 29.

“[A]s we come out of back end of 2019 and the customer base is cleaned up, we will have a customer base that is going to be perfectly suited for HBO Max,” Stephenson said.

The AT&T chief also said HBO had a “really strong second quarter,” with HBO Now digital subscriptions in particular gaining “a lot” of customers with the release of the final season of “Game of Thrones.” Stephenson didn’t provide HBO subscriber numbers but said that even with HBO unavailable on Dish Network (since last November) subscribers increased year over year.

Popular on Variety

More TV

  • Peppa Pig

    Hasbro Acquires Entertainment One in $4 Billion All-Cash Deal

    Toymaker Hasbro is acquiring studio Entertainment One in an all-cash transaction valued at $4 billion, bringing My Little Pony and Nerf under the same umbrella as Peppa Pig and PJ Masks. “The acquisition of eOne adds beloved story-led global family brands that deliver strong operating returns to Hasbro’s portfolio and provides a pipeline of new [...]

  • Sarah Michelle Gellar

    'Other People's Houses' Starring Sarah Michelle Gellar in the Works at Fox

    Sarah Michelle Gellar is looking to reunite with “Ringer” creators Eric Charmelo and Nicole Snyder on a dramedy co-produced by Fox Entertainment and UTV. Fox is developing “Other People’s Houses,” Variety has learned, and has given the project a script commitment. Charmelo and Snyder will write and executive produce, while Neil Meron, Sarah Michelle Gellar [...]

  • Ann Sarnoff Warner Bros

    Ann Sarnoff Formally Takes Reins of Warner Bros. as CEO

    The Ann Sarnoff era at Warner Bros. has begun. Sarnoff formally took the reins as Warner Bros. chair-CEO on Thursday, two months after she was appointed to the post. Sarnoff told employees in a memo that she has been impressed by the company’s track record during the past year amid a period of upheaval for [...]

  • Jamie-Lynn Sigler'Woke Up This Morning: The

    ‘Sopranos’ Cast Members to Present at VMAs in New Jersey

    The VMAs will reunite “Sopranos” castmates for the big awards show happening Monday night in Newark, New Jersey — right next door to America’s favorite crime family.  Drea De Matteo (who played the mobster girlfriend-turned F.B.I. informant Adriana La Cerva), Jamie-Lynn Sigler (who played Tony Soprano’s precocious daughter Meadow Soprano) and Vincent Pastore (who played [...]

  • The L Word

    'The L Word: Generation Q' Teaser Unites Original Cast, New Characters

    Showtime has released the first look at the next generation of “The L Word” and its new cast including Rosanny Zayas, Jacqueline Toboni, Sepideh Moafi, Arienne Mandi, and Micah Lee. Along with some of the original cast, including Jennifer Beals, Leisha Hailey, and Katherine Moennig, the series sequel picks up where its creator Ilene Chaiken [...]

  • ACCESS HOLLYWOOD -- Season: 24 --

    'Access Hollywood' Franchise Adds New Half-Hour Show

    After a spate of recent layoffs and the departure of host Natalie Morales, “Access Hollywood” is extending its brand with a new half-hour series. “All Access,” premiering Sept. 9, will take an in-depth look into the national headlines and look to uncover the real-life drama occurring in everyday places, exploring a blend of true crime [...]

  • YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for

    YouTube TV Adds Subscription Options for AMC Networks' Acorn TV, UMC

    Google’s YouTube TV now offers two more add-on channels to subscribers, under an expanded pact with AMC Networks: British TV service Acorn TV and UMC (Urban Movie Channel), which features a selection of black TV and film titles. Acorn TV’s add-on channel is now available via YouTube TV for $6 per month and UMC is [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content