The Future of DirecTV, DirecTV Now, Uverse TV & HBO (1 Viewer)

zidanetribal17

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I think the death of DirecTV is premature even for AT&T's standards. Based on what they are doing it looks like they are trying to have an entertainment product that fits in with every category/customer. DirecTV is just a product of this strategy.

Premium/Traditional TV - This will be their most expensive offering and most likely will decline over time.
DirecTV - This will stay firm for at least a decade and be positioned as the lead offer. It is the only "traditional" service they currently have across the country that will compliment their wireless service. With them still launching new satellites (latest being T16), releasing new equipment (Genie 2 and LCC) and investing in 4K I doubt they will get rid of DirecTV anytime soon.
U-Verse TV - This for now is an "alternate" option in 22 states for those who may not want a satellite or can't get DirecTV. Out of the 2 "Premium TV" services I predict this would be the first to go as they could re-purpose the spectrum used for the TV product to enhance their Internet product. Also AT&T is no longer investing in U-Verse TV as a platform like they are for DirecTV.
AT&T TV - This will be the streaming equivalent of DirecTV/U-Verse TV and will be priced similarly to them but be slightly cheaper. This will cost AT&T very little overhead as a tech usually won't be needed for this just an internet connection. I predict this will be the replacement for U-Verse TV and become AT&T's secondary offer in this category once fully launched. Since this is a streaming service it is possible it would be available across the whole country.

OTT Skinny Bundles - Low cost skinny bundle of channels

DirecTV Now - The lead offer for this category with the Plus/Max packages the competitor to Sling TV, PS Vue, YouTube TV, etc. This service is not intended to fully replace a traditional pay-TV operator like DirecTV, U-Verse TV, Dish, Xfinity, etc.
AT&T Watch TV - The answer to Philo and as of now serves to compliment DirecTV Now. Except for the Viacom/Turner channels the Discovery/AMC channels are not available with DirecTV Now's two packages.

OTT On Demand - Library of content available anytime

HBO Max (upcoming) - This will become the primary lead offer since it features content from HBO, TNT, TBS, Adult Swim, Crunchyroll, Warner Bros., New Line Cinema, The CW, etc. Essentially their Nexflix/Hulu competitor.
****Unless something has changed HBO Max will also include The Criterion Channel that replaced FilmStruck.

VRV - Their secondary streaming service AT&T has had prior to them acquiring WarnerMedia. Features AT&T owned Boomerang, Crunchyroll, Rooster Teeth and VRV Selects along with third party services like Cartoon Hangover, CuriosityStream, Mondo Medoa, Nick Rewind and Shudder.

OTT A La Carte -

HBO Now - Lead service in this category
Crunchyroll - Competes in the anime-sphere with FunimationNow, HIDIVE, etc.
Boomerang - Kids subscription service
Rooster Teeth - Gaming/tech focused with Let's Play videos, gaming news (Inside Gaming) produces RWBY
Max Go - Now available without a traditional pay-TV provider through Apple TV channels and WatchTV. (WatchTV gives access to the actual MaxGo site and app)


I believe that is all their current entertainment properties that are active or upcoming. Since this is AT&T there could be more that I'm unaware of.
 

navychop

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Seems awfully complicated to present to customers. Way too many choices. Paralysis of analysis.


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NashGuy

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Well, we know why AT&T renewed that trademark for AT&T TV awhile back. But I'm still wondering about those newer related trademarks they filed:

  • Amp by AT&T TV
  • Liquid by AT&T TV
  • Optiv by AT&T TV
  • Pulse by AT&T TV
Of course, lots of things get trademarked but then never used. And that may be the case with some or all of these trademarks. But IF some of these trademarks actually do get used in conjunction with the upcoming AT&T TV service, here's my guess for what they'd be:

Amp by AT&T TV offers exclusive live performances from music's hottest hitmakers like Taylor Swift, NE-YO, Imagine Dragons, Keith Urban, Aerosmith, and The Chainsmokers, along with compelling music documentaries, plus the latest and greatest music videos. Jam out 24/7 with Amp by AT&T TV.

Optiv by AT&T TV offers exclusive original series like Mr. Mercedes, Loudermilk, Condor, and You Me Her, plus classic series like Mad Men and favorite flicks like The Bank Job, Crazy Heart and The Family Stone. Optiv by AT&T TV -- because you like to watch.

Pulse by AT&T TV offers the latest scoop on the worlds of entertainment, sports, gaming and pop culture. Up-to-the-minute news, talk and inside-the-story documentaries feed your need for fandom, with original series like Off Camera with Sam Jones and The Dan Patrick Show. Keep your finger on the Pulse by AT&T TV.

Basically, I can imagine AT&T taking their Audience channel and breaking it up into up to three separate channels that are more narrowly focused. As for "Liquid by AT&T TV"? I got nothin'.
 

NashGuy

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OK, we're getting close to the point where speculation and conjecture will be in the past. Looks like AT&T TV will be launching VERY soon because the official webpage has gone live:

AT&T TV: Live TV, DVR, On Demand, Apps & Voice Control

Don't know about the channel packages yet but looks like I was wrong about it only including a small amount of cloud DVR storage in the base price, like DirecTV Now has (20 hours with 30-day auto-expiration). AT&T TV will come with 500 hours (!) of cloud DVR storage but recordings auto-expire after 90 days. No sign that there's any way to pay more to extend or remove the auto-expiration. AT&T TV will definitely come with the C71 Android TV custom streaming box but no word on the webpage of how that's priced in. My guess is that you just get one to keep for no additional charge when you sign up and then if you want to watch on additional TVs in your house, you'll have the option of using the AT&T TV app on a Roku, Apple TV or Fire TV or you'll be able to purchase additional C71 boxes if you prefer.

I had also predicted 2 simultaneous streams for AT&T TV but the webpage indicates that the service will allow 3. No word on if there's an option to pay more to get additional streams.

I was also off on my prediction for DirecTV Now, which I said would languish as-is for the next few/several months and then be quietly killed off. Instead, it's getting immediately rebranded as "AT&T TV Now," but apparently keeping the same channel packages, pricing, features, etc. The DirecTV Now app will soon auto-update to the new AT&T TV app (the same app that will be used by regular AT&T TV subscribers). It's going to basically be the same app as now, just with a new name and logo, as I had predicted.

https://www.att.com/esupport/article.html#!/directv-now/KM1351225?gsi=sj5pux

AT&T Killing Off ‘DirecTV Now’ Name as It Launches AT&T TV Streaming Service

So will AT&T TV use the same Plus and Max channel packages as DirecTV Now/AT&T TV Now? I still believe that it will, although I guess it's possible that AT&T will aim to confuse everything by making an epically bad decision to use different channel packages on AT&T TV vs. AT&T TV Now, even though both services use the same AT&T TV app! But I don't think even AT&T would do that.

I had predicted that AT&T TV would follow current DirecTV Now pricing with add-ons, like so:

Plus -- $50
Max -- $70
extra 100 hours of cloud DVR, with extended or waived auto-delete period -- $10
3rd or 4th simultaneous stream -- $5/ea

But now we know that a 3rd simultaneous stream and an expanded cloud DVR are built-in features of every package on AT&T TV. So perhaps Plus will be priced at $60-70 and Max at $70-80?

I still believe that Plus and Max will see some key missing channels added, including at least AMC, A&E, History and Lifetime. As for Discovery-owned channels (Discovery, HGTV, Food, ID, etc.), they'll have to be made available somehow, whether added into Plus and Max or offered as a stand-alone Discovery Extra Pack that can be added to the base package.

For the record, I'm still predicting that AT&T TV (and maybe also AT&T TV Now?) will have Select, Plus and Max base packages, plus additional Extra Packs of niche channels, plus a la carte premiums. But the official AT&T TV page also hints at an "Ultimate" package, which will probably be everything (except stuff from the International packages) added together: all the channels in Max, plus all of the Extra Packs, plus all of the premiums.
 

Athlon646464

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navychop

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I wonder what value they’re carrying on the books for the intangible asset “DirecTV” as a brand name.


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bobvick

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I wonder what value they’re carrying on the books for the intangible asset “DirecTV” as a brand name.


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That name ‘DirecTV’ used to have a lot of “goodwill” value, but AT&T as per usual has run it into the ground. I doubt the goodwill value is half what it was before the acquisition by AT&T.
 
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NashGuy

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I wonder what value they’re carrying on the books for the intangible asset “DirecTV” as a brand name.

Painful for fans of the premium satellite TV service to hear, but I don't think AT&T sees much value in that brand name any more. It's the past. Expect to see very little to zero national advertising for DirecTV come 2020. All the marketing emphasis will be on AT&T TV, AT&T TV Now and the forthcoming HBO Max.

I still do expect that DirecTV will at some point by end of year begin to exclusively offer to new subs the same set of packages available via AT&T TV and AT&T TV Now. And they'll all include HBO and, when it launches next year, HBO Max. But existing DirecTV subs will be grandfathered into their existing Choice, Xtra, etc. packages as long as they wish to stick with them. But drop 'em and they're gone forever.
 

navychop

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But “DirecTV” still has value as a brand name. ATT should be lowering its intangible asset value as they trash it.


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slice1900

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I think the problem may be that "Directv" is equivalent to "satellite" in the minds of most consumers, and trying to sell a product called "Directv" that doesn't require satellite is more difficult. Maybe they ran into this when doing marketing surveys about Directv Now, and found a lot of people assumed it wasn't an option for them because they didn't want or couldn't have a dish. If that's an issue, it would make it harder to sell if people are automatically ignoring any advertising for "Directv Now" once they hear the name and assume it isn't for them.

If they wanted to use the Directv name for the new product, what could they have called it? Directv Stream?

I agree that the Directv name has a lot of goodwill, but that is irrelevant if the name would stand in the way of the success of the new IP version of "Directv".
 

navychop

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You make a very good point.


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NashGuy

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I think the problem may be that "Directv" is equivalent to "satellite" in the minds of most consumers, and trying to sell a product called "Directv" that doesn't require satellite is more difficult. Maybe they ran into this when doing marketing surveys about Directv Now, and found a lot of people assumed it wasn't an option for them because they didn't want or couldn't have a dish. If that's an issue, it would make it harder to sell if people are automatically ignoring any advertising for "Directv Now" once they hear the name and assume it isn't for them.

If they wanted to use the Directv name for the new product, what could they have called it? Directv Stream?

I agree that the Directv name has a lot of goodwill, but that is irrelevant if the name would stand in the way of the success of the new IP version of "Directv".

Yep, you nailed it. And if I had to guess, I'd say that the marketing dept. at AT&T never really planned to use the DirecTV brand for their eventual IP-based flagship TV service. I think that from the get-go DirecTV Now was intended to be a short-term experimental staging ground for developing and beta testing the streaming technology, streaming box, channel packages, and direct-to-consumer marketing techniques that would all eventually be carried over to AT&T TV. Think about it: DirecTV Now had a *rough* and long beta period and if you look on reddit and other cord-cutter forums, it developed a fairly bad reputation. Hopefully AT&T has gotten their stuff together on the technical delivery front. We'll see. At any rate, you can understand why they want to dump that brand and not have it taint their shiny new flagship service.
 

slice1900

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Yep, you nailed it. And if I had to guess, I'd say that the marketing dept. at AT&T never really planned to use the DirecTV brand for their eventual IP-based flagship TV service. I think that from the get-go DirecTV Now was intended to be a short-term experimental staging ground for developing and beta testing the streaming technology, streaming box, channel packages, and direct-to-consumer marketing techniques that would all eventually be carried over to AT&T TV. Think about it: DirecTV Now had a *rough* and long beta period and if you look on reddit and other cord-cutter forums, it developed a fairly bad reputation. Hopefully AT&T has gotten their stuff together on the technical delivery front. We'll see. At any rate, you can understand why they want to dump that brand and not have it taint their shiny new flagship service.

That may be how it worked out, but I doubt their intent was to have Directv Now suck and develop and bad reputation...
 

NashGuy

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That may be how it worked out, but I doubt their intent was to have Directv Now suck and develop and bad reputation...

Well, I don't think it was the idea that it would suck, necessarily, but I think they knew it would be their beta and therefore unpolished and not-ready-for-primetime. So therefore it would use a disposable brand name, DirecTV Now. I don't for a moment believe that they ever intended DirecTV Now -- or "DirecTV anything" -- to be the name of the new flagship service which is called AT&T TV. Nor do I think they ever intended to run even a low-end cord-cutter streaming service for the long-term bearing the DirecTV brand because they knew that brand was inextricably tied to satellite technology.

Could be wrong, of course. Maybe it just all happened to unfold this way. But I think online peanut galleries like to believe that no one at AT&T knows what they're doing. On the other hand, I kinda think that multi-billion dollar corporations have employees who are well paid to do nothing but think this kind of stuff through for a living.
 

NashGuy

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I have to say that a lot of those anonymous posts over at TheLayoff.com (the site that some posters over at DBSTalk were ridiculing me for citing) proved correct with regard to AT&T's plans. Latest rumor I read today which I think originated from that site (I read it on DSL Reports) is that an AT&T insider says that the AT&T Watch TV service will be decommissioned at a future date TBD.

I've been saying that the main reason that $15 skinny cable bundle existed was to act as a freebie to give to AT&T Wireless customers and that it would stick around until HBO Max launches, which will then fill that need. Of course, I've also been saying that the bundle of channels in Watch TV will form the entry-level "Select" or "Starter" package in AT&T TV. We should see if I'm right about that soon enough. AT&T TV could launch in the pilot cities any day now.

There's been mention from AT&T brass on and off about a possible beta version of HBO Max rolling out this fall. I wonder if we might see them offer it in beta form as an exclusive "sneak peak" perk just for AT&T Wireless users. They'd get it free, in lieu of Watch TV. Folks getting something free can't complain too much if the beta is a bit rough, I guess. But using those customers as beta testers could also help build buzz for the service before it launches on all hardware platforms, with its full library and feature set in early 2020.

If that were to happen, we might see AT&T Watch TV get axed this fall. All paying customers on the service would, I'm sure, be encouraged by AT&T to sign up for the Select package on AT&T TV or AT&T TV Now.
 

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