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Discussion in 'Cord Cutters Club (Internet TV)' started by mackie99, Jul 9, 2019.
If HBO MAX includes all of the other programming in the video, the price quoted will be a good deal.
Does HBO channel in Apple TV have annual subscription option? If so, how did you subscribe? I am seeing only monthly option with 14.99/month
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But with a lot more and varied content if I'm reading the blather correctly.
Seems like a case of selling a more comprehensive product to end users for the same or lower price as you charge your distributors. I foresee some Multichannel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs) screaming bloody murder in AT&T's future -- it might go a long way towards explaining DISH's HBO situation.
I'll paste in here what I posted on another forum, relevant to your thoughts about how HBO Max and "regular" HBO fit into AT&T's relationship with MVPDs.
It only makes sense for the HBO Go app to stick around if HBO continues to exist as a standalone service for traditional cable/sat subscribers (given that HBO Go has always been the "TV everywhere" app that HBO subscribers can use if they log in with their cable TV credentials from Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Cox, etc.). There's been some talk of how all those existing HBO cable subs would automatically get HBO Max too (which, if true, would make the HBO Go app completely unnecessary). But I don't think that'll quite be the case.
HBO obviously already has carriage contracts in place with Comcast, Charter, Verizon, Cox, etc. and so has to work around those until they run out. My guess is that Warner will say to them, "We're killing Cinemax completely but you can still distribute HBO as a standalone service per the terms of our existing contract if you want. You still pay our negotiated wholesale rate to us for HBO (note: one industry analyst says that this rate, on average, is about $7.65 per sub) and then you charge your customers whatever you want for it. They'll still get the HBO linear channels plus streaming via HBO Go. (Oh, BTW, the only HBO linear channels we plan to offer any more are HBO, HBO Family, HBO Latino and HBO Cinema.) Or we can replace the current contract with a new one for you to distribute HBO Max instead. (Sorry, we're gonna have to charge you a higher wholesale price that's more in line with what Netflix gets.) Regardless of your decision, you should know that we're gonna offer HBO Max direct to consumers as a standalone streaming service for $16/mo and we're gonna advertise the heck out of it, so your customers will be aware of that option. If you're still charging $15 for just HBO, many of them will cancel and come straight to us for HBO Max for just a dollar more. So if you decide to stick with selling just HBO, you may have to lower your price to $12-13 (which is gonna put a squeeze on your margins, oops). On the other hand, if you decide to distribute HBO Max instead, we think you could price it at $17, a dollar more than us, because customers appreciate having all their content aggregated into your cable box UI, plus unified cable billing. And at the wholesale rate we're willing to give you for HBO Max, you'll actually make a bit more per sub than you would selling them just HBO at $12-13. (And all that gravy you're making on Cinemax is going away regardless.)
Whoops, I made a mistake. You are correct, it is $14.99 a month. It is CBS All Access, commercial free, that I get for $99 a year.
I see what you're reasoning, but it doesn't come anywhere near penciling out. If HBO is getting $7.65/subscriber in bulk payments from the MVPDs, that's surely to cost HBO much more to go direct to the viewer when you figure in the overhead of having millions of direct customers (even if they are all forced to be on auto-pay).
Going from a system of getting wire transfers from few hundred clients to getting credit card payments from millions of clients is a big step and the merchant fees alone will become a substantial cost center (remembering that the seller, AT&T, pays the merchant fees). I suppose that AT&T assumes that a large number of subscribers will already have an AT&T account but I wonder if they really know what percentage that will end up being. Keep in mind that they eat up some or all of that that savings in giving discounts to existing customers.
Given their track record with OTT, I'm not sure I'd bank on converting everyone over.
You are WILDLY overestimating the cost of running customer billing operations that exclusively use credit/debit cards, PayPal, and HBO gift cards. And keep in mind that AT&T already has a massive customer billing operation in place, both of the traditional variety as well as the prepaid variety (DTV Now, HBO Now, Cricket, etc.).
Maybe, but I bet not.
Aside from the billing expenses, there's also customer support that they're getting into on a much larger scale and we know that AT&T isn't winning many fans there. MVPDs are generally pretty predictable and don't require much handholding. You can't say that about a good chunk of the citizenry.
Att has been customer support for over 100 years...its not a new concept to them
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Don't confusing having done something with having done it well.
Supporting OTT streaming is more about figuring out what's wrong with the customer's LAN or broadband setup -- something AT&T doesn't have nearly as much control over as they do with their phone networks.
I recently passed up a sweetheart two-year deal on AT&T Fiber, mainly because I couldn't get past my reservations about AT&T's notoriously awful customer support. I would've rather dropped down to 30 Mbps service with my current cable company to save the money. Fortunately, Cox is feeling the heat from AT&T Fiber coming into my area and offered me a comparable two-year deal on my current 100 Mbps service.
Regarding providing support for OTT services, what I see mainly in discussion groups are device-specific issues, not internet/WiFi-network related ones. By now, most people (even my technically impaired dad) who use OTT services regularly know how to reboot a router and run a speed test and check other devices and apps to see how well they are running to home in on the problem.
AT&T has more control over it than, say, Netflix, assuming that the customer is on AT&T Internet/Fiber. (All those folks must use the AT&T-provided gateway.) Of course, the majority of HBO Max subs won't be using AT&T's own network.
But honestly, OTT video services don't spend a lot of time on the phone troubleshooting customers' issues with their internet service or internal modem/router. There's basically a boilerplate set of checkpoints that webpages and chat bots guide customers through and if none of those clear up the problem, well, sorry, it's time to call your son/grandson/niece/next-door-neighbor kid (assuming that you're not very techy which, if you were, you wouldn't have been accessing their support in the first place).
In case you don't know about them, check out Toast.net. They resell access to AT&T Fiber/Internet. The upshot is this: all they sell is internet and it's always uncapped. Their price-to-speed ratio isn't quite as good as what AT&T offers but then AT&T has caps on everything except their gigabit speed tier. (But if you subscribe to DirecTV Now, they'll waive the cap on any tier you have. I expect they'll do the same with their upcoming flagship cable TV service, AT&T TV.) Dunno what Toast's customer service is like but given that they're a small outfit, it might be better. Prices include their own gateway (which I'd bet are the same models that AT&T use).
Wow. Yet another streaming service. At this point, I feel like I have to subscribe to 3 or 4 different services to get access to all the shows that I like to watch. At that point in time, might as well just stick with Dish or Directv as it's not any cheaper and it's more convenient to have all my shows in one place.
I have YouTube TV, and I personally don't need to sign up for any additional services to get content I could've otherwise gotten had I stayed on my $140/mo cable TV service (which at that price didn't even come close to including every channel they had available in add-on tiers). I only sign up for other streaming services on a rotating basis to get certain exclusive originals.
And even if I did need these other services to round things out, signing up for a $10-$15/mo. streaming service to get one or two shows is still much cheaper than paying for a max channel cable or satellite TV package just to have access to any show I may possibly ever want to watch. When I had cable, I had to pay for a $10/mo add-on tier just to get BBC America. The rest of the tier was DIY and kids channels I had no interest in. I know some people who actually find it cheaper to simply buy each season of their favorite shows on Amazon, Vudu, or iTunes than pay every month for hundreds of channels they don't have time to watch.
I was wondering if you got my point.
Do you think they'll be customers long if the suggest you find other help receiving their service? Even that kind of recommendation can be done wrong and AT&T seems particularly good at doing support wrong (if the surveys are to be believed). DIRECTV Now has had more than its share of growing pains and it seems likely that the new platform is more likely to be built on the DIRECTV Now model than the HBO Now model. I'm also reasoning that AT&T thinks that they're going to have much greater uptake on the new product with millions more customers than they have now.
I've called AT&T, SPRINT, T-mobile and Verizon for help on the same wireless phone issue and I'm not sure which is more useless, AT&T or SPRINT. Maybe Verizon's scripts are better but they sounded much more adept and solved the same problem much faster in my case. If they aren't willing to improve their scripts, their customer service is going to remain in the dumper.
No one chooses whether or not to subscribe to Netflix or Hulu based on the quality of their customer service or technical support. HBO Max will be no different.
NashGuy - Any thoughts if DTN customers who have HBO will get this (either as part of the package or with a discount)?
Subscribers used to choose them because they offered content that they wanted in a format that worked well across platforms. HBO Max is competing with cheap bundle services from Fubo, Philo, Sling and others who are trying to get some of the "just enough" crowd along with Sony, YTTV and Disney+ that are trying to be all things to all people (except maybe sports people).
While Netflix continues to print money, Hulu seems likely to go away or be the grown-up tier of Disney+, both are slowing significantly as customers look at their digital bill in shock. It seems likely that once people add up their broadband, wireless and OTT options, something is going to have to give as it rockets past a new small-car payment.
Speaking only for myself, I don't think AT&T expects that customers will subscribe to both services and it wouldn't be a big stretch to suggest that DIRECTV Now isn't long for the world as AT&T seeks to reduce the number of seemingly self-competitive services.