Cheapest Method for TNT?

Discussion in 'Cord Cutters Club (Internet TV)' started by Jagosaurus, May 29, 2019.

  1. Jagosaurus

    Jagosaurus Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Family

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    I have a buddy asking me the most price aggressive way to access live (not just VOD) TNT via OTT providers? DVR is a bonus.

    I'm personally a Vue sub ($45 Access non football season, $50 Core during football). I know there are cheaper overall options but Vue fits my family needs... well, wife compromise... best. Things are always changing so I'm not certain of current options for his TNT use case.

    That said, I mentioned Sling TV to him for TNT. Looks like the $25 package includes it. What would DVR capabilities add? Still +$5?

    Looks like Turner channels are missing from Philo.

    Seems YouTube TV, Hulu TV, & Direct TV Now will be in the same range as Vue.

    Unless I'm missing something, $25 Sling is his best option?

    In case you're wondering, this is for AEW (All Elite Wrestling). Turner is back in the rasslin biz 20 years later (since WCW).
     
  2. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    If TNT is the sole reason for subscribing and audio quality isn't an issue, then Sling Blue is it by a long shot. It is in the eyes and ears of the beholder as to whether it is worth another $20 to maybe get better video quality and add surround sound (I'm not sure whether Sling features surround sound their live TV offerings yet; they didn't a year ago).
     
  3. gms49ers

    gms49ers Die hard Rush & 49ers Fan Pub Member / Supporter

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  4. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    It sounded like DVR service would be appreciated but you're right about it being less money.

    Because it is oriented towards wireless devices, 720p will be the order of the day for most channels with WatchTV and stereo audio appears to be the limit (another artifact of being device-oriented).
     
  5. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    It looks like current content from TNT, TBS and other AT&T-owned basic cable channels will be included in their forthcoming on-demand streaming service rumored to be called "HBO Max". But I doubt that it will include any of the sports content from TNT and TBS (if one can consider professional wrestling to be a sport). I also doubt it will include live streams of anything beyond HBO, if that.
     
  6. Jagosaurus

    Jagosaurus Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Family

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    Thanks guys. Will tell him to look into Sling & AT&T Watch Now. I honestly forget about the latter.
     
  7. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    I doubt that is the case but we're talking about AT&T Watch TV, not HBO Max (some manner of trial balloon that AT&T is lofting to see if anything they can assemble from frankenparts might get traction).
     
  8. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    AT&T Watch TV definitely DOES include live streams of TBS, TNT and several other cable channels. HBO Max will not, at least at first; it will focus on on-demand content, like Netflix. But one of the head honchos at AT&T recently said that they will eventually offer the option to subscribe to live channels in the HBO Max app (much like Hulu has a live TV option).

    My hunch is that Watch TV is going to die soon and essentially merge with DirecTV Now to become AT&T's new flagship cable TV service, probably simply named AT&T TV. They'll include the live HBO channels, plus HBO Max on-demand content, in with the Watch TV line-up and raise the package price from $15 to $30. That will be the Starter tier, with DTV Now's Plus and Max tiers sitting above it at their current regular prices of $50 and $70. Plus and Max have somewhat skimpy line-ups right now because AT&T had yet to finish up their contracts with certain network families (A+E, AMC, Discovery) when they first announced those packages on DTV Now. But that should be rectified by the time they appear in the "new" AT&T TV service that will launch in late July or August.
     
  9. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    Link?
    DIRECTV Now is an unqualified disappointment (they lost 350,000 customers in six months) and it includes all of the channels in Watch TV already so I'm not sure how they would "merge". AT&T needs Watch TV to boost their wireless attractiveness so I doubt it is going anywhere.

    I think AT&T needs to find a sweet spot in between Watch TV and DIRECTV Now that hits a $35 price point (SlingTV and Philo territory). I think some partitioning like SlingTV is doing will go a long way towards "not paying for what I don't watch".
     
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I assume you mean about the plans to eventually merge live cable TV (i.e. DirecTV Now) into the forthcoming WarnerMedia SVOD (i.e. HBO Max)?
    John Stankey's challenge: Making AT&T's $100 billion bet on Time Warner pay off

    DTV Now was an experiment in OTT live TV for AT&T and mainly a way for them to develop and beta test their new cloud-based streaming video platform, which will find its REAL use in powering their upcoming service.

    What I mean by merge is that DTV Now and Watch TV would no longer be two separately branded services. The two channel packages in DTVN -- Plus and Max -- and the single package in Watch TV would form the three tiers of a newly branded service that would have slightly different features and options from either DTVN or Watch TV, both of which would be discontinued when the new service launches. This is what I think will be the new streaming service that is set to launch in Q3. But if the Watch TV package becomes the Starter tier in this new service, I would bet that it will (like Plus and Max) include HBO as well as the upcoming HBO Max on-demand service. Going forward, HBO Max will be the absolute bedrock of AT&T's video strategy and they're not interested in selling ANY new video subscriptions that don't include it.

    The name has yet to be announced or leaked but I think it will be called AT&T TV, based on the fact that they trademarked that name awhile back (last year?) and it fits the standard naming pattern: AT&T Wireless, AT&T Internet, AT&T Fiber. What else would you name your new flagship cable TV service intended to go with those other products than AT&T TV?

    So I would imagine a new unified product line-up that looks like this:

    HBO Max: $16-17
    AT&T TV - Starter*: $30
    AT&T TV - Plus*: $50
    AT&T TV - Max*: $70

    *All AT&T TV packages would include HBO Max.

    As is the case currently with DTV Now, AT&T TV will come with 20 hours or so of cloud DVR included. But you'll also be able to expand that, probably an extra 100 hours of storage for $10/mo. And just as Sling TV has add-on Extra packs (Sports Extra, Heartland Extra, Hollywood Extra) of various niche channels that aren't included in its main Blue and Orange tiers, I expect AT&T TV will do the same, giving customers the option to add small groups of additional channels to their base tier for an extra $5-10/mo for each Extra pack.

    Note that AT&T Wireless's most expensive package includes free Watch TV plus one free premium subscription, such as HBO. The next step down package just gets free Watch TV. If Watch TV goes away, I would expect that the top wireless package would get the AT&T TV Starter tier for free (or a $30 monthly credit off any AT&T TV tier) while the package just below it gets HBO Max for free. No more giving away free subscriptions to competitors' services (e.g. Showtime, Starz, etc.).

    Note that Sling TV does not include local affiliates of ABC, NBC, CBS or Fox, except in major markets where the affiliate is actually owned by the network and Sling is given no choice but to include the local if they want access to that network's cable channels (ABC grouped with ESPN and Disney; NBC grouped with USA, NBCSN, MSNBC, etc.; Fox grouped with FS1, FS2, etc. Sling doesn't carry any CBS affiliates anywhere.) Not including most local affiliates nationwide really helps Sling keep their prices down, given that locals typically account for about $12 of a cable bill.

    Meanwhile, Philo at $20 is missing locals plus any sports channels. It's just composed of cable channels that aren't owned by any of the big 4 networks or AT&T, so it's missing a LOT of what people tend to want in a cable TV package. It's really more of a supplement to other sources. AT&T Watch TV is the closest competitor to it, trading away some less popular channels in Philo in exchange for AT&T's own channels (CNN, TBS, TNT, TruTV, etc.).

    It would be great for consumers if you could get a bundle costing only $35 that includes your major locals (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox) plus maybe the 20 or so most popular cable channels across all companies, including ESPN, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, AMC, HGTV, Discovery, ID, Food, FX, USA, Nickelodeon, History, TV Land, TLC, A&E, History, Hallmark, TBS, TNT and Cartoon. But it's just not possible, at least not yet. (Maybe in a few more years after cable TV has lost millions more subscribers.) Right now, all those different companies that own the networks won't allow anyone to just cherry-pick a few of their most popular channels and put into a low-cost package because then everyone would get that package and all of their less-popular channels would die off. So they instead require that more of their channels be shoved into the base package so that they can get paid more, which of course drives up the package price. If you want something for under $50, something's gotta give: either lose one or more major channel group or lose your locals. Actually, even at $50, YouTube TV still lacks Viacom channels (as do Hulu with Live TV and PS Vue).

    I don't think AT&T is finished building out their Plus and Max packages yet. Right now, they're still missing channels from the Discovery, A&E, and AMC groups. I know they just renegotiated their contract with A&E, so I definitely expect those channels (A&E, History, Lifetime) to get added. I think AMC channels (AMC, BBC America, IFC) will as well. Discovery's channels (which include HGTV, Food, Animal Planet, ID and TLC) are too popular to not have at all, so they'll either get included in Plus and Max or Discovery will give AT&T permission to offer them as their own separate Extra pack. Discovery's CEO has talked publicly for months now about selling just their channels as a standalone service for $5-8/mo and they've also announced plans to launch their own on-demand service (in conjunction with BBC) next year for about $5/mo. So it's not out of the question that they'll allow AT&T TV to distribute their live channels that way, as their own little a la carte bundle.
     
  11. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    So AT&T is building their OTT future on top of the steaming pile known as DIRECTV Now? Stankey better have a backup plan to pay off that $200,000,000 in debt.

    If you read the entire CNBC article (with the knowledge that CNBC is a competitor), they seem to be suggesting that nobody at WM knows how this is supposed to work. This is why I'm of a mind that what we're hearing is pretty much just a succession of trial balloons.
    I've seen package lists that don't include Cinemax in at least the Starter package. In all cases, there would be only a few of the HBO and Cinemax themes rather than the whole offering.
    I think the point of the article was that they haven't really started fleshing out what the offerings will be.

    What makes DIRECTV Now unpalatable isn't the channels, it is the packaging, delivery and the customer service associated with it. Adding HBO is just putting lipstick on it.

    The other OTT bundlings that we've heard about (named for the corresponding DIRECTV package) won't fly as they appear to be the same money (ignoring the numerous fees and charges) for much fewer channels.

    I see why the analysts are shaking their heads.
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    Eh, whether or not what AT&T is about to do will be successful is an open question. I'm just predicting (based on a lot of public statements and rumors over the past year, plus analysis of their current offerings vs. competitors' offering) what they WILL do pretty soon this year. It's going to be an expanded (and probably rebranded) version of DirecTV Now, with an optional set-top box and full-function cable TV remote designed specifically for use with this service. (But folks will be able to just use an app on whatever device they like if they don't want to take the box.) This isn't going to be marketed as a "cord-cutter" streaming service. It will be AT&T's full-blown main TV service. And the same packages it offers -- Plus, Max, etc. -- will be the new default options on DTV satellite as well. You may not "get it" yet but once all this is announced, I think you'll understand what they're doing. (Though you still may not *like* it or think it's worth what they'll charge for it.)

    They're pretty well on their way in terms of fleshing out what will be in HBO Max, even if all the details aren't set yet. It's supposed to launch in beta this fall, with the final product a go by next March. As for AT&T TV, I think that's pretty much locked and loaded at this point. They might still be dotting the I's and crossing the T's on one or two final carriage contracts and finalizing the initial marketing rollout plans but they're getting very close. I expect it to launch in August, if not late July.

    As for Cinemax, I don't know if any of its linear channels will show up in the Starter and Plus packages. Currently, only its main channel is part of the Max package. But the WSJ recently reported that Cinemax content is going to be part of the HBO Max SVOD, so Starter and Plus subs will still get on-demand access to Cinemax content that way. I actually think that they want to slowly phase out most of those linear premium channels anyway as the HBO and Cinemax brands become thought of as sub-brands within the broader HBO Max service/app. Note that the Plus and Max packages in DTV Now right now only include the HBO, HBO Family and HBO Latino linear channels.
     
  13. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    Assembling all that out of what we've been given is a herculean task indeed.
    The DIRECTV part of that service showed packages with less channels and more dollars involved.
    Until it is announced, I don't think anyone (including AT&T) knows what it will contain. This is a recurring theme in the article.
    You're contradicting yourself here. We know AT&T has a TV track record of missing release dates by months leaving them consistently late to the party. They can't have it within a year and be planning to beta test in the Fall.
    I expect that given their recent past, where they are starting from and the number of fronts that they're battling on, you're throwing darts just like Stankey is. The question is whether the wall is made of horse hair or hardwood; whether a relatively expensive suite of services (in terms of cost per channel) has a place in the modern pay TV landscape. I think today's DIRECTV is proving that it isn't sustainable.

    Adding the requirements of unicasting at the subscriber numbers needed makes it seem all the more difficult. Going from 1.5 million to tens of millions subscribers in a short time is unprecedented. All of this speculation seems to assume that the competition isn't prepared to adjust or even steal their thunder with time proven models and that's a serious oversight.
     
  14. NashGuy

    NashGuy SatelliteGuys Pro

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    I'll give you this: you never let lack of knowledge on a specific topic stand in your way of offering an opinion.
     
  15. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

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    That's the magic of opinion.

    To assemble sound bites and clippings of claims and promises isn't easily defensible; especially given the applicable historical performance of the company and the documented analyses of Mr. Stankey's MO. History must be carefully factored in when forming an opinion and making predictions and I think you may be taking that evidence much too lightly.
     

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