AT&T signs up 1 mln customers for DirecTV Now OTT service in first year

Tuesday 5 December 2017 | 14:21 CET | News

AT&T announced that it's passed the milestone of 1 million subscribers to its online TV service DirecTV Now, just a year since its launch. That compares to a reported 787,000 at the end of September and a total TV subscriber base of 25 million at the operator. 

DirecTV Now has been the main growth driver for AT&T's TV business in the past year, offsetting some of the losses at the DirecTV satellite business and U-verse IPTV business. AT&T's CFO John Stephens said the company expects to report net video gains for the fourth quarter of 2017, thanks to the growth at DirecTV Now. Speaking at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference in New York, he also said AT&T is on track to achieve USD 2.5 billion or more in annualized cost synergies from the DirecTV acquisition by mid-2018.

DirecTV Now offers access to over 120 live channels and more than 25,000 VoD titles, plus optional subscriptions to premium sports and entertainment packages. Customers can access the service over any internet connection, on devices such as Roku, Apple TV and Amazon Fire. AT&T has also been testing the OTT TV service in its pre-5G trials of fixed-wireless services. 

To mark the first anniversary of DirecTV Now, AT&T is offering new customers a package of over 60 channels for just USD 10 the first month. After that, the service is renewed automatically at USD 35 per month if not cancelled. No minimum contract is required for DirecTV Now. 

In addition, Stephens reiterated AT&T's pledge made at the time of the DirecTV takeover to cover 12.5 million customer locations with high-speed broadband by mid-2019. AT&T already offers fibre broadband to 7 million premises and expects to exceed its 2019 target. 

Commenting on the company's wireless business, the CFO said that the smartphone upgrade rate during the holidays was "lower than historical levels". Still, the company expects sales volumes to increase during the holidays, assuming no supply constraints.

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