The deal, unveiled in February, turns DirecTV into a standalone company in which TPG owns a 30% stake. The new DirecTV encompasses all of AT&T’s previous video and streaming businesses in the U.S. and Puerto Rico.
DirecTV CEO Bill Morrow called it a “watershed moment” for the satellite TV provider that launched in 1994. He added that the new company has the benefit of focus on serving video subscribers.
“Building on our recent momentum, we are well-positioned to bring unparalleled choice and value to all of our customers under one iconic brand, whether they beam it or stream it,” Morrow said.
DirecTV in its heyday was seen as the high-end choice for MVPD service. But as wifi and broadband connectivity became vital for the nation’s households over the past decade, the limitations of the satellite platform’s ability to provide high-speed Internet service became a problem for consumers.
AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV for nearly $50 billion in 2015 was supposed to remedy that by marrying DirecTV to AT&T’s telco and wireless network. AT&T tried a number of iterations with DirecTV, including low-cost streaming packages, but the satcaster has continued to shed customers by the hundreds of thousands (AT&T reported a net loss of 473,000 satellite TV subscribers last month). At present DirecTV has about 15.9 million subscribers.
The new-model DirecTV plans to emphasize the breadth of its sports offerings and the quality of its 4K DVR service. It is offering a new streaming package of channels dubbed DirecTV Stream that comes with a set-top box that will allow users to integrate non-DirecTV services like Netflix, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu into one integrated platform for watching and pausing live TV. The DirecTV streaming package will also be available to users who have non-DirecTV streaming devices (think Roku, Amazon Fire) as well.
DirecTV said a new branding campaign and other refresh touches will roll out across the platform in the coming months.