John stankey

AT&T Unveils Details Around DirecTV Now Two Days Before Launch

by Paige Albiniak  |  11.28.2016

AT&T on Monday debuted its new streaming on-demand service, DirecTV Now, which will be available starting Wednesday for $35 per month.

The service will offer several tiers of channels at different pricing levels. The “Live a Little” package costs $35 per month for 60-plus channels; “Just Right” will cost $50 per month for 80-plus channels; “Go Big” will cost $60 per month for 100-plus channels and “Gotta Have It” will cost $70 per month for 120-plus channels. In addition, premium channels such as HBO and Cinemax can be added for $5 per month each.

For an introductory period, subscribers can pay $35 for more than 100 channels, but that deal won’t last forever.

Most of the major entertainment companies — including 21st Century Fox, AMC, Disney-ABC, NBCUniversal, Time Warner and Viacom — all have cut deals to allow their channels to be included on the platform. (AT&T has agreed to acquire Time Warner for $85.4 billion.)

All major entertainment giants, except for CBS Corp., have in recent months unveiled deals to be included in DirecTV Now - from Walt Disney to Time Warner’s Turner and HBO, NBCUniversal, Viacom to AMC Networks, Discovery Communications and, most recently, 21st Century Fox. AT&T executives said the goal was of providing the best of live and on-demand TV.

However, the service won’t include CBS or its sibling networks — CBS Sports, Pop, Showtime and Smithsonian Network — because CBS has yet to conclude a deal with AT&T. 

RELATED: AT&T to Launch DirecTV Now Without CBS

AT&T Entertainment Group CEO John Stankey told Variety that he didn’t think not having CBS would affect the product much.

“When you look at the demographic we’re going after… there is not going to be one single network that is the reason (consumers) won’t subscribe,” he said in an interview with the magazine. “Whether they can get CBS primetime shows is not going to be a determining factor.”

Executives at the event remained confident that such a deal would happen, with Brad Bentley, AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services EVP/CMO, saying AT&T is working through deal points with Showtime and CBS, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Stankey added later that it “remains to be seen” if AT&T can pull CBS into the fold, but the company’s deals with other media conglomerates prove that such deals are possible.

DirecTV Now joins Dish’s Sling TV in offering customers a package of live TV channels streaming over the top, rivaling cable operators’ so-called skinny bundles. Hulu, Google/YouTube and Apple all are working to offer similar services, reports THR.

The service also will offer original content, including content from Hello Sunshine, the female-focused production company of Reese Witherspoon, who was present at the event. AT&T also is partnering with Taylor Swift on branded channel Taylor Swift now.

The service won’t launch with local TV stations, but it expects to add those in local markets going forward. It also doesn’t offer DirecTV’s popular NFL Sunday Ticket, but AT&T is talking to the NFL about offering it in the future. 

DirecTV Now is targeted at 20 to 25 million households who currently don’t subscribe to any pay-TV service. 

READ MORE: The Hollywood Reporter, Variety

[Image of AT&T’s John Stankey courtesy of Getty Images via The Hollywood Reporter]

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