AT&T said Wednesday that it has attracted more than 200,000 customers for its recently launched video streaming service, DirecTV Now, as the television industry races to keep up with dramatic changes in consumer behavior.
The glitchy, twitchy DirecTV Now streaming service has its early customers twisting in outrage, but Sarah Perez reports that owner AT&T has no plans to offer refunds as yet. What’s worse, beyond venting in online chat forums, “customers found the only way to get help was through a hard-to-find chat feature,” where refund talk is squashed by reps.
Problems that have beset AT&T’s DirecTV Now streaming service since its launch have continued unabated, so much so that some subscribers see the service as “simply unusable.” The problems include being unable to watch shows, frequent interruptions, missing features and billing issues.
DirecTV Now’s $35 a month price for 100-plus channels — which some analysts thought was too good, or foolish, to be true — soon will be history. AT&T says that on Jan. 9 the introductory offer will expire, and the streaming service’s “Go Big” package will cost $60.
AT&T is still working to reconcile the rights complexities of NFL football with the technological execution of DirecTV Now, with users of the virtual platform still complaining that they’re being improperly blacked out of local NFL games.
AT&T said it has fixed a problem that resulted in DirecTV Now users being unable to watch NFL games on Fox over the weekend. The upshot? It appears DirecTV Now users will now be able to stream games featuring local NFL teams in their living rooms, but not on mobile devices.
Eager to deliver its customers over-the-top video, CenturyLink is looking at becoming a reseller of DirecTV Now, the virtual MVPD service launched last week by telco rival AT&T.
Last week’s launch of DirecTV Now was plagued with errors, but AT&T says it’s thrilled with the early interest in its new streaming bundle offering. “The early demand has been rather dramatic … we’ve been pleased with it,” Randall Stephenson, AT&T’s chairman, CEO and president, said this morning at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York
AT&T’s new live TV streaming service debuted Wednesday with a free seven-day trial and attractive $35 introductory price, but plenty of first-time users are experiencing trouble.
The new streaming service from AT&T that debuts on Wednesday will carry live the owned stations of ABC, NBC and Fox in their entirely within their markets as well as offer the networks’ primetime shows on demand the day after their initial airing. But deals aren’t in place yet to carry the networks’ affiliates. For the time being, subscribers in those markets will have to settle for watching network programs the day after on demand. AT&T exec John Stankey says he’s also working to bring the CBS stations on board, but could live without them.
It’s unclear if the new service, DirecTV Now, will break out with consumers. But it has the size to get better deals from entertainment companies, who have slowly come around to the idea of streaming. And if that doesn’t work, watch for a live-TV operation from Hulu early next year. And maybe one from Google. Or, who knows, maybe even Apple, too.
Next week, AT&T Inc. is leaping into online streaming with DirecTV Now, but it’s taking the plunge without CBS Corp., the most popular TV network and the lone holdout for the service among the top media companies, according to people familiar with the matter.
DirecTV Now has secured one of the final two major programming linchpins, ahead of its impending launch, with the virtual pay TV service signing a broad digital deal with 21st Century Fox. What isn’t clear: How will parent company AT&T handle broadcast networks during the initial phase of the IP-based platform’s launch?
Entertainment Studios’ cable networks Comedy.TV and JusticeCentral.TV will be available on the new streaming service, DirecTV Now, when it launches later this month. “We value our continued and expanding relationship with AT&T,” said Byron Allen, founder, chairman, and CEO of Entertainment Studios. “DirecTV Now customers will be able to enjoy watching our networks wherever they are at their convenience.” DirecTV […]
Fox programming available to DirecTV Now customers will include: Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FX, FXX, FXM, FS 1, FS 2, Big Ten Network, 18 Fox regional sports networks, National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild. The parties have also agreed on a framework for Fox Broadcasting Co. programming to be delivered to DirecTV Now customers nationwide.
AT&T’s pricing arrangement for its upcoming DirecTV Now streaming service might “obstruct competition and harm consumers,” the head of the FCC’s Wireless Telecommunication Bureau says in a letter seeking information about the much ballyhooed plan.
Starz says today that eight of its premium networks will be available to DirecTV Now customers when AT&T launches the $35 a month streaming service — expected later this month. Additional Starz channels as well as its full VOD catalog with current and past episodes of original series will be added later..
For almost two years, Dish Network has offered U.S. consumers a streaming-television service without a traditional cable or satellite subscription — and the company has had the market almost all to itself. Until now. AT&T, which has tied up with Time Warner in a $85 billion mega-deal, is planning to introduce an online offering, DirecTV Now, later this month. A new paid service from Hulu, Google’s YouTube Unplugged and possible offerings from Amazon and maybe even Apple will soon join the fray.
The launch is part of a cross-platform agreement that includes carriage of Univision networks across AT&T and DirecTV platforms.
Other then diverting money that might have gone to buying TV spectrum, the proposed AT&T merger should not have much impact on broadcasting. Of more concern is AT&T’s announcement on Tuesday that its DirecTV will offer a not-so-skinny bundle of more than 100 channels for $35 a month. That’s the challenge for broadcasters. They have to make sure they’re included in DirectTV Now at a fair price.
DirecTV Now, AT&T’s virtual pay TV package, was billed by executives as a cure for cord-cutting and an enticement for the cord-never crowd. Analysts initially estimated DirecTV Now would cost anywhere from $50 to $70 when it hit the market. On Monday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, while on the stump for his proposed $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, announced DirecTV Now’s package of Internet-delivered streaming channels will be offered for just $35 a month when it launches in November. What happened?
AT&T’s DirecTV Now will offer 100 channels for $35 a month, including unlimited mobile data for viewing. The announcement of the service, whose price is lower than the industry norm, came via AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson at the WSJ Digital conference Tuesday. It will hit the market in November.
TNT, TBS and CNN are the latest major additions to AT&T’s soon-to-launch virtual-MVPD service, DirecTV Now, following a comprehensive carriage renewal agreement signed between AT&T and Turner Networks.