×

AT&T Confirms DirecTV Now Price Hikes, Launches New ‘Slimmer’ Bundles With HBO That Omit Many Cable Channels

AT&T is overhauling its DirecTV Now pricing and packaging strategy — including hiking prices for existing customers by $10 across the board — a move that could lead to more subscriber losses for the company’s flagging pay-TV business.

At the same time, AT&T is launching two new DirecTV Now packages: Plus, at $50 per month for up to 46 channels; and Max, $70 per month for up to 59 channels. Both include AT&T-owned HBO, HBO Family and HBO Latino along with networks from WarnerMedia (Turner), NBCUniversal, Disney and Fox, and exclude channels from A+E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery and Viacom.

The previous DirecTV packages are no longer available to new customers.

In a notice to customers posted Wednesday, AT&T confirmed that the prices of all DirecTV Now base packages will increase by $10 per month effective April 12, 2019. It’s the second price increase for DirecTV Now in less than a year, after the telco jacked up the prices by $5 per month last summer. Customers with those packages — Live a Little, Just Right, Go Big, Gotta Have It, and the Spanish-language Todo y Más — will retain their current lineups as long as they continue to keep the service.

Also, starting March 13, 2019, DirecTV Now legacy customers will pay $15 per month for HBO and $11 monthly for Cinemax (both previously offered for $5) while Starz will cost $11 per month (previously $8). The Brazilian package is increasing to $30 per month and the Deportes add-on is increasing to $15 a month.

The new DirecTV Now Plus $50 entry-level package includes HBO, HBO Family and HBO Latino and local ABC, CBS, Fox, CW and MyNetworkTV stations (though broadcast nets are not available in all markets). Cable networks in the bundle are AccuWeather, AT&T’s Audience, Boomerang, Bravo, Cartoon Network, CNBC, CNBC World, CNN, Disney Channel, Disney Junior, Disney XD, E!, ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Business Network, Fox News Channel, Fox Sports 1, Freeform, FX, FX Movie Channel, FXX, Hallmark Channel, HLN, MSNBC, Nat Geo Wild, National Geographic Channel, NBCSN, Ovation, Oxygen, Pop, Revolt, Syfy, TBS, TCM, TNT, TruTV, Universal Kids and USA Network.

DirecTV Now Max ($70 per month) includes all those channels as well as Cinemax and sports networks ESPNews, ESPNU, BTN, CBS Sports Network, FS2, Golf Channel, Longhorn Network, MSG, MSG+, Olympic Channel, SEC Network and YES Network (with regional sports networks available only in certain markets).

“Both new packages provide slimmer, quality-driven content lineups at competitive prices and with no annual contract,” AT&T said in announcing DirecTV Now Plus and DirecTV Now Max. Customers who take the $50 Plus package can add Cinemax for $11 extra per month; Starz and Showtime are also available for an additional $11 per month each.

AT&T had argued that its takeover of Time Warner “will enable the merged company to reduce prices, offer innovative video products, and compete more effectively” against tech giants Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google. The telco made those claims in a court challenge by the Justice Department, which sought to block the merger on antitrust grounds. Last month, a U.S. Appeals Court upheld a previous ruling approving the AT&T/Time Warner deal.

For DirecTV Now customers on the older packages, the new prices effective April 12 will be: Live a Little (65+ channels) for $50/month; Just Right (85+ channels) for $65/month; Go Big (105+ channels) for $75/month; Gotta Have It (125+ channels) for $85/month; and Todo y Más (90+ channels) for $55/month.

Word of the price hikes for legacy DirecTV Now packages and the two new bundles leaked out this past weekend, after AT&T posted preliminary info on its website.

While AT&T’s DirecTV Now shakeup stands to make the over-the-top service more profitable on a per-subscriber basis, the higher prices are bound to cause many users to bail — and switch to rival OTT live TV packages like YouTube TV, Hulu With Live TV or Dish Network’s Sling TV. In the fourth quarter of 2018, DirecTV Now lost 267,000 net subscribers after the company ended virtually all promotional pricing, and ended 2018 with about 1.6 million DirecTV Now subscribers.

Meanwhile, AT&T’s WarnerMedia is gearing up to launch a suite of subscription VOD services, centered on HBO, Turner and Warner Bros., targeted for a Q4 2019 launch.

More Digital

  • Mokalik

    Nigeria’s Kunle Afolayan: African Audiences Shouldn’t Be ‘Second-Class’

    DURBAN–A young boy from a middle-class home gets an unconventional schooling in the ways of the world when he’s forced to apprentice at a mechanic’s workshop in a rough-and-tumble section of Lagos. “Mokalik” is the latest feature from Kunle Afolayan, a leading figure in the wave of filmmakers revitalizing the Nigerian film industry. The film [...]

  • SAG-AFTRA HQ

    SAG-AFTRA Ends Long Strike Against Ad Agency Bartle Bogle Hegarty

    SAG-AFTRA has ended its 10-month strike against Bartle Bogle Hegarty after the advertising agency agreed to sign the union’s new commercials contract. The union instructed its 160,000 members in September not to accept any work for BBH, which had been signed to SAG-AFTRA’s commercials contracts since 1999. The strike came two weeks after BBH publicly [...]

  • FaceApp is displayed on an iPhone,

    SAG-AFTRA Warns Members About FaceApp Terms of Use

    SAG-AFTRA is warning its 160,000 members about the “overreaching and invasive” terms of use for the FaceApp mobile application. FaceApp, developed by Russian company Wireless Lab, uses neural network technology to automatically generate transformations of faces in photographs. The app can be used to make users appear older, younger, or change gender. The terms include [...]

  • J. Cole

    Apple Music Launches 'Rap Life' Playlist

    Apple Music announced the launch of “Rap Life,” a new global playlist focusing on contemporary rap artists and culture. It replaces the former “The A-List: Hip-Hop” playlist. Said Ebro Darden, Apple Music’s Global Editorial Head of Hip-Hop and R&B: “We flipped it to dig deeper into into the lifestyle [and to] keep pushing the culture [...]

  • Billie Eilish

    ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

    A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group. Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel. “We want to take concert filming [...]

  • Fortnite Battle Royale

    How 'Fortnite' Fans Can Earn Loot by Watching YouTube Videos

    Epic Games and YouTube have teamed up with a special offer for “Fortnite” players — giving players of the popular battle-royale game rewards when they watch “Fortnite”-premiered content on the video platform. The catch: You have to watch at least 20 minutes of “Fortnite” special content or live esports broadcasts to receive the loot. Under [...]

  • Roku headquarters

    Roku Plans to Expand to Brazil, Other Countries (EXCLUSIVE)

    Roku plans to expand to multiple new territories in the coming months, Variety has learned. One of the first new markets for the company will likely be Brazil. An international expansion could help Roku grow its customer base, which in turn should lead to growing advertising revenues. Roku executives have been hinting at plans to [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content