(Adds product details and analyst quote)
By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK Nov 28 AT&T Inc, the largest
U.S. TV provider, unveiled on Monday the pricing and launch date
for DirecTV Now, which will stream television programming
through the internet to win customers who shun traditional cable
and satellite TV subscriptions.
DirecTV Now will debut on Wednesday at prices ranging from
$35 a month for over 60 channels to $70 for over 120 channels,
AT&T said. For a limited time, more than 100 channels will be
available for $35, the company said.
"It's a very disruptive offer," Roger Entner, an analyst at
Recon Analytics said, adding that the AT&T promotion could help
it garner about 1 million subscribers within a year.
The service, which was first announced in March with few
details, will be available on internet-connected devices
including smartphones, laptops, Apple TV and Amazon Fire TV.
AT&T is counting on the mobile video market for new revenue
as wireless companies are struggling to drive sales in an
oversaturated cellular phone market.
AT&T acquired DirecTV for $48.5 billion last year, making it
the largest U.S. pay-TV operator with 25.3 million video
subscribers, in an effort to diversify into the media and
AT&T also plans to buy Time Warner Inc for $85.4
billion to gain control of premium content from networks such as
HBO, as online video competition is expected to heat up.
"It is really important to understand that this is the
foundation for how we are going to do things in the future,"
John Stankey, chief executive officer of AT&T's entertainment
group, said at a media event in New York.
DirecTV Now will help AT&T target a new market segment,
including consumers who cannot pass credit checks for pay-TV
subscriptions and those who shun pricey pay-TV connections,
DirecTV Now will include content from networks such as Walt
Disney Co and Twenty-First Century Fox. The
company is actively working to include CBS Corp
programming to its service, executives said on Monday.
AT&T also rolled out FreeView, an ad-supported video service
that gives viewers a taste of some on-demand DirecTV Now content
DirecTV Now users can add premium services such as HBO and
Cinemax for $5 per month, AT&T said.
For $6 a month, viewers can also sign up for Fullscreen, a
video service owned by Otter Media, a joint venture between AT&T
and media company the Chernin Group. AT&T is giving its wireless
subscribers free access to Fullscreen for a year, it said.
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak, Jessica Toonkel and Tim Baysinger
in New York; Editing by Richard Chang and Lisa Shumaker)