AT&T will later this year offer content from its DirecTV satellite provider as a streaming service “over a wired or wireless internet connection from any provider and from virtually any device – smartphone, tablet, smart TV, streaming media hardware or PC”.
Beginning in the fourth quarter, the operator will offer three options for streaming content: DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. News about the strategy first leaked at the end of 2015.
The idea is to provide a more affordable version of premium content with flexibility about how users consume it. “We plan for each service to come with a set number of simultaneous sessions,” a company statement added.
However, it will not require annual contracts, satellite dishes or set-top boxes.
Although appearing to be a radical move for an operator because it decouples content and underlying infrastructure, analysts said the impact of AT&T’s move would depend on pricing and how much users could pick and choose their slimmed down packages.
DirecTV Now looks closest to the current offering, featuring on-demand and live programming, plus premium add-on options. Users will be able to access the service over a wired or wireless Internet connection and on Internet-enabled devices. Consumers can sign up for the service then just download the app and begin watching.
DirectTV Mobile is designed to be an affordable offer which will deliver “a mobile-first user experience for people wanting premium video and made-for-digital content directly on a smartphone, regardless of the wireless provider”. Consumers can start watching video immediately after a sign-up and app-download process.
Finally, DirecTV Preview is free for anyone with a wired or wireless Internet connection and will feature “some of the programming” available on DirecTV. The ad-supported service will showcase content from AT&T’s Audience Network, as well as other content sources, and millennial-focused video from Otter Media, a joint venture of AT&T and The Chernin Group.