As cable companies lose subscribers, the industry is looking for ways to win back cord-cutters or shift them to new products. DISH Network pioneered these efforts with its Sling TV pure-digital live television service and now AT&T (NYSE:T) has joined the party with its similar (but not the same) DirecTV Now product.
In this segment from Industry Focus: Consumer Goods, the cast looks at the new AT&T service, how it works, and how it compares to competing offerings on the market.
A full transcript follows the video.
This podcast was recorded on Dec. 13, 2016.
Vincent Shen: DirecTV Now is currently available for free trial. Why don't you give me some basics, Dan? How much is it, and what are customers getting?
Dan Kline: DirecTV Now is your latest alternative to cable. It's live streaming cable channels. And the promo offer is a $35 a month package, which, in theory, AT&T is taking a bath on, though, let's assume they've negotiated some good deals there, for at least a short time. You get about 100 cable channels, including, in some markets, local channels, but that's very limited, like, if you live in New York, you might get NBC, but you can only watch certain programs on demand. But in general, you're getting the top cable companies like TBS, TNT. It's very similar to Dish Sling, or Sony PlayStation Vue, where you don't have cable, you want to watch some live TV, you want some sports, and you're going to pay and you're going to get a streaming-only cable service.
Shen: Yep. I should add, there's four tiers to the service --
Kline: Which are made a little bit irrelevant by the promo offer right now.
Shen: Yeah. They have cute names. The first tier is $35 a month, it's called Live a Little. The next one's $50, Just Right. And then the promo one is Go Big which is usually $60, but the current promotional rate is $35.
Kline: And they say they're going to honor that forever. Now, forever, for AT&T, is not trustworthy. Just like they're going to grandfather your unlimited plan forever, and then slowly make it terrible for you. But, in the short term, it's probably the cheapest per-channel deal. Dish Sling is at about 22 channels for $20, it varies a little bit how many channels.
Shen: And you can stack on additional, right?
Kline: You can add stuff. So, it's probably $35 for 100 channels. And 20 of those channels aren't stupid ones you don't watch. Most of them are good channels.
Shen: The full network list isn't available, at least that I could find, but a pretty good sampling of them are here. And as you mentioned, it includes most of the big networks. And like you mentioned, if you can get it, it includes three of the big --
Kline: No CBS.
Shen: No CBS. And then, the biggest package is Gotta Have It $70 a month. I'm trying to think if there was any other ... so, there's the promotional offer that's $35 ...
Kline: And there's a promo where you can get HBO and one of the other pay services for $5.
Shen: And some perks that come with the service are, the fact that you can cancel it at any time, there's no annual contract, no fees that way, and there's no waiting for a cable guy to come install it, no box, it will stream directly to your smart TV, your phone, your tablet, your PC, any devices you have like Apple TV, the Amazon Fire TV Stick. There's also a bunch of on-demand titles, too, right?
Kline: And they'll give you those devices. If you commit to three months, they'll give you an Apple TV. I will point out that Apple TV is $149, and 35 times three, I can't do that math live on their air ...
Shen: But it's less than $149.
Kline: It's $105. So, if you were thinking about an Apple TV, getting this for three months just to play with it while you're traveling is worth it, just to try it.