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30 Dec

DirecTV May Drop WHIO-TV On New Year


WHIO-TV Blackout

In recent news, AT&T is reported to be planning the end of local CBS affiliate, WHIO-TV, on U-Verse and DirecTV packages, despite of the prolonged negotiations. This means that AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV users will no longer be able to watch WHIO-TV from January 1 starting at 03:00 a.m.

Rob Rohr, who is the General Manager and Market Vice President of WHIO-TV, issued the statement regarding the matter. “I am disappointed that my company and AT&T appear to be reaching an impasse that could lead to a disruption in WHIO-TV’s service for AT&T U-verse and DirecTV subscribers,” Rohr said. “In just the past few weeks, we have reached agreements with some of the largest video distributors in the country. At this point, every distributor besides AT&T/DirecTV has reached a long-term agreement to continue carrying WHIO-TV.”

“We are asking only that AT&T/DirecTV offer a fair deal that adequately values WHIO-TV’s award-winning news, sports, entertainment, weather and traffic programming,” the statement further added. “The fees cable and satellite companies pay us go to fund these important local services. Accepting unreasonable fees from AT&T/DirecTV would lead to less local news, less local sports, less local weather and less community involvement by WHIO-TV.”

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Cox Media Group Channels

By law, WHIO-TV should negotiate the carriage deals and agreements with satellite TV firms like AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV, and usually, the deals are made without any disruption to the service. Many negotiations of agreement have been done with minimal disruptions, but this time, AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV has not reached a market-based deal to carry WHIO-TV.

The existing agreement between WHIO-TV and AT&T will expire at 3 a.m. on New Year’s morning, and if a deal is not made before the date, WHIO-TV will be dropped from U-Verse and DirecTV packages. However, viewers can still watch WHIO-TV over the air.

Cox Media Group officials said that viewers should call AT&T U-Verse and DirecTV and let them know that they pay much money to watch WHIO-TV. Reports say that WHIO-TV will continue negotiations with DirecTV and AT&T U-Verse and the updates will be published on their official website as the negotiations progress.

28 Dec

Blackout Of Local NFL Games Will Have A Negative Impact On DirecTV Now


Local NFL Games

One of the biggest selling points of AT&T’s latest online streaming service, DirecTV Now, was the deal signed by AT&T and Fox a few weeks ago. This deal allowed DirecTV Now subscribers to access all the local Fox Stations in certain Fox owned markets.

DirecTV Now subscribers assumed that this deal would allow them to access and watch the NFL games. However, many DirecTV Now customers across different markets reported that they were not able to watch some of the NFL games. AT&T immediately responded and stated that they have identified a “technical issue”, which prevented DirecTV Now customers from watching the match and added that they have resolved the problem.

The statement from AT&T noted, “On Sunday, we experienced an issue where some DIRECTV Now customers were unable to stream portions of the football games on their respective local Fox channel. We’ve identified the issue and are confident that customers will be able to stream next Sunday’s games in available markets where league blackout restrictions don’t apply.”

AT&T refused to specify what the “issue” that caused the blackouts was. However, the customer service team of DirecTV Now made a statement on Twitter by stating that the issue was “caused by the streaming service not having the rights to any NFL game carried by a network that had the game’s national rights.”

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Channels Blackout

This statement doesn’t fit with the statement from AT&T, which means that DirecTV Now subscribers might be able to watch the NFL games in upcoming weeks. Sling TV and PlayStation Vue subscribers were able to access the games and they did not any encounter any blackouts during the broadcast of the game.

Analyst claims that if AT&T fails to resolve the issue soon, this might affect DirecTV Now badly. This is because there is a possibility for NFL fans to opt out of DirecTV Now and to join the competitors if AT&T is unable to offer the broadcast of NFL games.

The “league blackout restrictions” of AT&T was actually a nod to Verizon’s exclusive with the option to stream and watch NFL games on smartphones. Reports indicate that DirecTV Now customers will not be able to access the locally televised NFL games on their smartphones, as Verizon holds the exclusive rights for this category. However, DirecTV Now subscribers will still be able to watch the local NFL games on their tablets, computers, and connected TV’s.

22 Dec

Experts Say DirecTV Now Is Right On Price But Not On Service

DirecTV Packages

DirecTV Now Service

People who are in search of low cost alternative to the pricey pay TV services have a new option from AT&T, DirecTV Now. AT&T became the latest player to offer pay TV bundle that is streamed over the internet rather than delivering the service over satellite transmission or cable. Their DirecTV Now service joins Sling TV from Dish, PlayStation Vue from Sony, and Stream TV from Comcast.

It is true that the DirecTV Now service has some attractive features, but many of the users found the overall service disappointing and tag it as an inadequate substitute for the traditional pay TV services. Like its rivals, this service is also aimed at users who have cut the cord or have never signed up for a pay TV service. For that, DirecTV Now offers terms that are more customer-friendlier than those that users get from satellite or cable TV services.

With the DirecTV Now streaming option, users need not have to sign up long-term contracts, but they can sign up just for a month and cancel the service the next month. Users can tune in the service on smartphones or any other digital streaming devices, including Chromecast from Google and Amazon Fire TV. Moreover, you do not need to install anything to use the service either. Just download the app and sign into their corresponding account to start using the service.

Like any other internet streaming service, the quality of the video will depend on many factors like interference from nearby Wi-Fi networks and amount of traffic on the network. If you have broadband service, you will have sharp and clear video and will be able to change channels quickly.

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Streaming TV Channels

One of the biggest attractions of the DirecTV Now service is its low price. The base package costs just thirty-five dollars a month, which is lower than what you will find for traditional pay TV packages. Also, the package includes the ability to get all channels in high-definition.

However, the price is standalone, meaning that the users do not have to sign up for bundles of AT&T voice phone or broadband to get the DirecTV Now service. This means that you can subscribe to HughesNet or some other broadband service provider and still get the DirecTV Now service.

Experts say that DirecTV Now service has much serious shortcomings than its channel lineup. Many users complained about the missing recording feature of the service. AT&T spokesman Leland Kim said that they are planning to introduce DVR feature soon.

Another area where the DirecTV Now service comes up short is in search. Many users complained that instead of helping them to find something to watch, the search makes it more difficult. AT&T said that they would get rid of these shortcomings in the near future.

12 Dec

Charter CEO Talks About A Potential Netflix Integration Deal

TWC Internet

CEO Tom Rutledge

One of the leading cable operators in the country, Charter Communications, feels that they don’t need to own a content company straightaway. The Liberty Broadband of John Malone owns a big stake in the major telecom company. However, during a recent conference, Tom Rutledge, the Chairman and CEO of Charter Communications, said that the company is planning to integrate Netflix into their set-top boxes in the near future.

When asked whether the company need to own a content company so that they won’t be at a disadvantage when compared to AT&T and Comcast, he said, “I don’t think so right now.” AT&T recently revealed their plans to acquire Time Warner for an estimated budget of $85.4 billion, while Comcast Corporation currently owns NBCUniversal. However, Rutledge added that, “We are a connection company at the moment, and I like that place.”

Rutledge also said that there was a “a great runway for years to come” and “a lot of opportunity” with the present business model of offering pay TV services and connectivity even without the need to own a content company. He said, “You have to stay true to the content business” while operating in both distribution and content.

Charter CEO also explained that the distribution footprint is constantly smaller when compared to the programming footprint. He continued, “[otherwise] you can destroy a lot of value.” Rutledge further added that the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner will not change that.

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Netflix Integration Deal

On the other hand, when asked about the potential talks to integrate Netflix into their set top boxes, he said, “I expect that to happen.” He added that the deal might happen in the near future, as they are in talks with the steaming service platform owners currently. Netflix, one of the popular streaming services in the country, already has an integration deal with Malone’s Latin American and European pay TV giant Liberty Global and with Comcast Corporations.

Charter had earlier acquired two major companies, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks, for $55 billion and $10.4 billion, respectively. The acquisition of these major companies allowed Charter Communications to become the second largest cable company in the United States. Comcast currently holds the first position.

In addition to that, the new initiative from Charter, named as Charter Spectrum, was launched by the company a few weeks ago has shown great promise and it’s becoming widely popular among customers.

06 Dec

Cricket Wireless Joins Hands With DirecTV Now

DirecTV Family Package

Latest Streaming Service

One of the popular prepaid wireless service providers in the country, Cricket Wireless, has just launched the latest streaming service from AT&T, DirecTV Now. However, this decision from the prepaid wireless provider was expected, as AT&T currently owns the company.

AT&T hopes that the launch of DirecTV Now in Cricket Wireless will draw in more subscribers to the latest streaming service. Nevertheless, reports indicate that there will be a major difference on how DirecTV Now would work on Cricket Wireless and how it would on AT&T internet service.

Cricket Wireless will not be zero-rating the streaming of DirecTV Now. This means that customers will be charged for the service they use. However, AT&T had earlier announced that they would be zero-rating DirecTV Now on AT&T internet network.

Net neutrality supporters severally criticized this decision from the Telco, and AT&T is currently under FCC investigation due to this practice. Yet again, AT&T responded to this criticism by stating that their sponsored zero-rating program is a lot beneficial to subscribers and it is also available to all other third parties.

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Streaming Service From AT&T

Reports say that the promotional incentives, subscription plans, and pricing details offered are exactly the same on both Cricket Wireless and AT&T. But if you are customer, who is planning to stream DirecTV Now through Cricket Wireless, then it is wiser to opt for the “Unlimited” plan, as you will be charged for the data you use. The wireless provider also added that it is best to stream the contents of DirecTV Now over a Wi-Fi connection rather than using your data plan.

The Cricket Wi-Fi app in the Cricket Wireless is an exceptional tool, which helps you to easily discover the Wi-Fi hotspots around your location. Cricket Wireless has also decided to offer the “Go Big” package from DirecTV Now at just $35 a month for a limited period. The normal price customers have to pay for this package after the expiry of limited period is $60 per month.

Four packages are being offered by DirecTV Now to subscribers at present. The basic package offered by the streaming service offers approximately 60 popular channels at an affordable price of $35 per month. The most expensive package from DirecTV costs $70 a month, but it does offer 120 popular channels to subscribers.

01 Dec

The Most Attractive Package Of DirecTV Now Will Be A Money Loser For AT&T

DirecTV Choice Package

DirecTV Now Packages

AT&T is prepared to shake up the pay TV business by launching DirecTV Now service. Analysts say that the aggressive pricing of AT&T’s internet streaming service could steal customers away from OTT rivals like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue and cable TV networks.

DirecTV Now service is designed to make the process of buying a mobile oriented TV, much fast and cheap than traditional satellite TV or cable TV services. There are no contracts, no installation or credit checks to get the service. However, analysts believe that the most popular bundle from DirecTV Now will the one with lowest margin.

The entry-level “Live a Little” bundle in DirecTV Now offers 60+ channels in a pricing of 35 dollars a month. At this price point, AT&T will lose money when the costs of subscriber acquisitions are taken into account. Besides that, AT&T is also offering free Amazon Fire Stick and Apple TV devices as incentives when users prepay for the service for 3 months or more. These costs together with customer service and support expenses might make the “Live a Little” bundle non-profitable for AT&T.

As per the per channel fee estimates by SNL Kagan, baseline bundle programming will cost thirty dollars a month. This means that the starter packages from DirecTV Now will have a negative operating margin. “Put simply, they aren’t going to make any money (on the base package),” Analysts Moffett and Nathanson said. “We don’t expect DirecTV Now to be such a runaway hit that it wrecks the market as we know it. But it would be a mistake to dismiss it as a non-event at its new pricing. It is still dangerous… both to the ecosystem and, most of all, to AT&T itself.”

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AT&T Streaming Service

The pricing structure of DirecTV Now reinforces the statement that the primary purpose of AT&T with the OTT product is to use it as a boost to their wireless business, as their wireless business has not shown much growth in the past quarters. AT&T’s plan is to make it attractive to buy both the services, because wireless customers of AT&T will have DirecTV Now streaming excluded from data caps.

Experts believe that AT&T will lose money with their special introductory offer of hundred channels for 35 dollars, even though they have not specified how long this promotional pricing will be available. Some even say that at pricing of 35 dollars, the package will have a negative operating margin of more than 7%.

“If the base $35 bundle is compelling enough, it could be quite attractive for consumers relative to the enhanced basic packs, which are at the heart of the churn-reduction strategy at companies like Charter, especially when combined with unlimited wireless data and no monthly set-top box costs,” Barclays analyst Kannan Venkateshwar wrote.

01 Dec

How The Launch Of DirecTV Now Affects Competitors

DirecTV Packages

Launch Of DirecTV Now

AT&T unveiled the bundling and pricing details of their latest streaming service, DirecTV Now, last Monday. It is evident that the launch of DirecTV Now will increase the competition among the streaming service providers. At present, PlayStation Vue and Sling TV are the major streaming service providers in the country. Analysts have already started discussing what the launch of DirecTV Now will mean for them, as well as what effect it would have on Netflix and pay TV industry.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Steven Cahall reported that DirecTV has unveiled “a potentially great product with Now, in our view, that leverages having some of the best programming costs in the business due to scale, as we think DirecTV’s programming costs are some 20 percent-30 percent below the industry average. This may force competitor products to come down to DirecTV’s price point even if their wholesale costs are much higher.”

Cahall argued that this is good news for not only the subscribers, but also it will “as a result likely mitigate pay TV sub erosion, though by how much is impossible to know just yet. On the flipside, we think some of those subs may come from smaller linear multichannel video programming distributors, and virtual multichannel video programming distributors’ churn would be higher.”

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Multichannel Video Programming

He further added, “We see the mitigation of TV sub erosion as THE biggest issue for media investors. We see DirecTV Now and future launches as constructive to media valuations.” Thomas Eagan, Telsey Advisory Group analyst added that he is optimistic on pay TV companies and he does not expect “material cannibalization yet from DirecTV Now.”

Eagan said that the latest service “could compete with [Dish’s] Sling TV, while Netflix [is] still a complement. While we estimate the number of broadband-only video households grows to 5 million this year, it’s still relatively small and price elastic to support multiple OTT players.”

“We, therefore, expect share shift from within OTT services,” he added. “We see DISH’s Sling TV (the only other live TV streaming service) as vulnerable due to the streaming issues that have lowered retention. Conversely, we see a neutral to possibly favorable impact to Netflix. With its original programming and low price, it remains a complement to a pay TV or streamed base package.”


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