The growing concern that the residential pay-TV installation business will soon be over-run by virtualized services just got reinforced in a big way, with AT&T (NYSE: T) announcing the introduction of three DirecTV streaming services.
Starting in the fourth quarter of this year, DirecTV will offer three "affordable" programming packages — AT&T didn't specify pricing — that will be viewable on tablets, smartphones and OTT devices and will require no contracts, satellite dishes or set-tops.
"These offers will provide a broad range of customers with greater freedom and choice to watch, binge and even buy premium content, regardless of how and where they enjoy their entertainment," said John Stankey, CEO of the AT&T Entertainment Group. "We intend to offer customers a quality pay-TV experience, including top channels, sports and more, with increased value and flexibility of pure online streaming and no need for home installation."
The new tiers will include DirecTV Now, which AT&T said will include "much of what is available" on the core DirecTV satellite service today.
DirecTV Mobile, meanwhile, will be a lower priced programming package available for only smart phones, all carriers included. And DirecTV Preview will be a free, ad-supported service with limited content options.
Rival satellite carrier Dish Network (NASDAQ: DISH) has had a virtual pay-TV service, Sling TV, in the market for 13 months now. Dish hasn't disclosed a subscriber count for Sling since last June, but analysts believe the company is closing in on around 600,000 customers for the service, many of them cannibalized from Dish's core satellite service.
Like DirecTV's offerings, Sling TV doesn't require a truck roll.
- read this DirecTV press release
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