Making their services appealing to cord cutters is one of the things that DirecTV and Dish are working hard at these days. DirecTV’s parent company, AT&T, announced at the beginning of the month that they would be launching three new services, which will let users stream DirecTV online without the hassles of an annual contract, satellite dish, or even a set-top box. Named Now, Mobile, and Preview, these plans will be out and up for grabs sometime in the fourth quarter this year.
AT&T’s $48.5 billion acquisition of the TV service last year made it the largest pay-TV company in the country. At present, it allows subs to access their programming online, but intends for the three new services mentioned above to bring in new customers from the cord-cutter camp. These plans don’t involve installing and paying for cable, and should be appealing to consumers who already stream most of their movies and TV shows via services like Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu.
There isn’t any reliable way to gauge the number of people moving to over-the-top streaming services, but a Digitalsmiths report showed 8.2 percent of pay-TV subs had made the transition, and this is significantly high for a service as large as DirecTV. This seems to be at the root of the reason why they are offering TV programming in online packages.
AT&T still hasn’t said anything about how much the new steaming plans are going to cost, or if these will be zero-rated to allow free viewing for subscribers of their unlimited data plan. Preview is the only free option but it comes with ads, and also limits the number of things you can access from DirecTV’s programming. Simply put, pay-TV is still the best way to get bundled services and comprehensive channels listing.
The company also mentioned that 60 percent of the network traffic for them is video, and that it already provides more than 60 million streams and downloads to subscribers every month. One of the major obstacles they have faced, however, is with bringing U-Verse TV Service customers over to DirecTV after the merger.
It may turn out that consumers who cut the cord recently will be taken in by the lineup preview offered in the new online services. It is certainly a more viable option for people who rely on a fast Internet connection to watch TV. Meanwhile, the company also offers internet services like GigaPower, so they are set to benefit either way.