The latest area of interest in the subscription pay-TV sphere is the skinny bundle. Following years of arguably high costs for premium channel packages, the trend is now headed towards lower cost and smaller channel offerings. This has gained momentum among consumers, with many of them choosing to (unwisely) forego traditional pay-TV options.
Dish Network had been the keenest on marketing its own skinny bundle – SlingTV – with over 20 channels, for $20 a month, including popular ones such as ESPN, ESPN2, CNN, TBS, and TNT. SlingTV is streaming based which means it is going out to subs over the internet, so there is no more expenses involved around cable boxes. But again, you simply don’t get the same range of programming.
AT&T recently brought out competition for SlingTV in the form of DirecTV Now, DirecTV Go, and DirecTV Preview. These are streaming based as well, and bring a broad range of offerings. Then there is DirecTV Mobile for mobile devices. Each of these packages tries to make a value proposition to the consumer who is not crazy about premium charges.
Cord-shavers who want content at a lower price can find it with DirecTV Now, which is good fit for that crowd thanks to the programming options. The mobile package better suits the mobile-heavy millennials, while Preview is more of a free-mium model.
AT&T has not let out anything about its pricing plans, except to say that they will be offering enticing options, alongside an internet connection as a bundle component. That last bit is something the SlingTV offering still has not matched – the streaming service is not accompanied by Dish’s satellite Internet at this time. AT&T has already been offering unlimited mobile data for customers of DirecTV, and bundling the three new streaming services with internet will only serve to draw in more subscriptions over the coming months.
Of the three, DirecTV Mobile is the most interesting option, and could be AT&T’s most lucrative play if it manages to market the package to the millennial crowd. What we can take away from these developments as a whole, is that there is a definite demand for lower-cost pay-TV services. Both Dish and DirecTV will continue to respond to this, hopefully bringing in better deals and promotions even before the year is out. DirecTV still leads, thanks to its exclusive agreement with NFL, which is the main reason that hardcore football fans choose the provider every time.