DirectTV Now Leads the AT&T Entertainment Group Going Into 2018

DirectTV is a subdivision of the AT&T Entertainment Group and its traditional satellite service has been steadily losing customers over the past few quarters. In the last quarter of 2017 DirectTV lost a total of 147,000 customers making it the third straight quarter that the company has been in decline. It has been a fate that many cable companies have had to face in 2017. Conversely, AT&T’s cable service U-verse lost 60,000 subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Many cable services have had to innovate or be left behind and many of them have turned toward developing their own streaming services. In 2016, DirectTV teamed up with AT&T to launch their own internet pay-TV service Direct Now. Since then the service racked up 1.2 million subscribers by the end of 2017.

Traditional pay-TV customer losses are a result of stiff competition in the market. Unfortunately, AT&T fully expected to have a better year in 2017 than they did in 2016, so, when the opposite occurred, AT&T put its full force behind promoting Direct Now to account for the shortfall. This support made sense to their business strategy because customer acquisition costs for an internet service are far less than an acquisition costs for a traditional cable service.

Looking forward to 2018, AT&T plans to launch an upgraded version of its OTT service complete with cloud DVR, a third stream of Direct Now and user-interface enhancements.

When Direct Now first launched in 2016, the platform had several glitches, but they were able to recover quickly. In 2017, Direct Now earned 368,000 new subscribers, which is their best quarter to date, adding to their 787,000 existing customers.

However, on AT&Ts side of the spectrum, the business keeps running into issues. For instance, their deal to acquire Time Warner has been put on hold due to a block implemented by the Department of Justice due to the deal potentially being anti-competitive. However, AT&T expects to prevail in court and complete the merger.

At the end of 2017 in Q4 AT&T’s overall business reported $41.7 billion in revenue which is down 0.4% from 2016’s Q4 but still more than Wall Street predictions. This decline is reported to be as a result of declining sales in wireless service, legacy wireline, and U.S. video revenue.

Conversely, AT&T’s net income in Q4 of 2017 was reportedly $19 billion which is a huge jump from the reported $2.4 billion for Q4 in 2016. This is as a result of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs act, which adjusted earnings to boost diluted shares to 78 cents from 66 cents in 2016 Q4.

The AT&T Entertainment Group has had a tough year. The group includes DirectTV, broadband and wireline voice and the services have suffered a decline of 3.5% in Q4 of 2017 to the tune of $12.7 billion. The company’s wireless revenue has risen by 2.5% due to equipment sales growth earning them $19.2 billion in Q4 of 2017. Of that number $8.3 billion was generated by the U.S market alone. However, that number itself has also declined by 1.7%.

Directv Is Finally Getting 200 HD Channels

DIRECTV have apparently joined the very elite in the world of cable and satellite television operators because they are finally, truly offering 200 High-Definition channels. The consumers of today might not be able to perceive the significance of this, but the pay television industry was starkly different 7 years ago.

Cable and satellite television operators were busy competing against one another to offer the most High-Definition channels. Back then, HD programming was a very major deciding factor for consumers when they would subscribe to a particular TV provider.

HD Programming

Indeed, High-Definition programming was the equivalent of what streaming is today and it mattered everywhere, whether Cloud storage, Mobile video, Multi-room DVRs, or TV. When it came to choosing a TV provider back in 2009, the thing that meant the most to consumers was High-Definition programming. Providers offering the most HD channels would wind up being the preferred choice, but there were actually not many of them.

As a result, launching phoney marketing campaigns had become somewhat of a norm for pay television operators. It enabled them to deceive and mislead consumers that they were offering better quality and a greater number of High-Definition channels than their competitors.

For instance, despite not joining the HD revolution, Comcast launched a marketing stunt claiming that their “HD choices” were far more than those being offered by others. The truth was that they were not actually offering more High-Definition channels; rather they had more on-demand HD programs. The fact of the matter is that even DIRECTV and Dish were offering far more High-Definition networks than Comcast.

Marketing Issues

Even DIRECTV had launched a sham of a marketing stunt implying that they would be offering 200 High-Definition channels back then, which was not the case. There were merely creating the ploy and ruse that they actually had the capacity to offer 200 High-Definition channels. Surprisingly, DIRECTV succeeded in feigning consumers because within the next couple of years after that, they had a much larger subscriber base than before.

While 200 High-Definition was never actually available from DIRECTV in the past, they are certainly offering them now. DIRECTV’s website now actually is displaying the fact that they finally have more than “200 full-time HD channels.” In fact, there is even a chart on their website that points out that their competitor Dish is currently not offering 200 High-Definition channels. On their own website, Dish claim that they are actually offering 200 HD channels. These two providers had a similar dispute in the past back in 2010 and it went as far as a lawsuit that was eventually dropped.

While the debate continues to this day, it is no longer highlighted as prominently as it used to be in the past. Apparently, High-Definition programming has lost its significance to features like Net-based programming that are now preferred by consumers and pay TV operators are now focusing on them. TV Everywhere is one example of this.

Wrap Up

No doubt, consumers still also want High-Definition programming, but it is no longer the only feature that matters the most. Nonetheless, DIRECTV subscribers will not have to wait anymore because it is not a bogus claim this time; rather they are indeed offering 200 High-Definition channels.

AT&T DirecTV Plan To Launch Streaming Service in 2016

AT&T which became the world’s largest pay TV company by acquiring DirecTV last year has announced its plans to provide internet-based streaming TV services from the fourth quarter of 2016. With these new services, the company is joining the over-the-top or OTT video race. Although the company has not announced any pricing or disclosed information about the content, analysts feel that the new products are designed to target new customers who already stream their TV shows and movies from platforms like NetFlix and Hulu.

Current Market

The three new internet TV services are DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. Most of the current content from today’s DirecTV will go into the Now package which will serve as the majority content provider among the three tiers. Customers will be able to access content using a wireless or wired internet connection. The Mobile service targets smartphone users who watch special made-for-digital content and videos directly on their mobile devices. This product range will be priced lower and will be provided to all users regardless of their carriers. Consumers who watch their content for free can opt for the third service, the Preview. This ad-supported option will have limited content featuring some programming available on DirecTV today including originals from the Audience network and video programming from the Otter Media.

AT&T will reveal the pricing only during the launch of these services. But by looking at what has been tabled so far, it is clear that these services will target customers who are price sensitive and those who don’t want the conventional pay TV services. The company has confirmed that the other similar services from its stable like the traditional satellite service from DirecTV and its own U-verse TV will not be affected and they would continue to offer their own programs. With this launch, AT&T believes that DirecTV will have a complete range of products including live programming and on-demand options from popular networks along with premium add-on options.

AT&T Hopes

AT&T is hoping that these new subscription models with flexible content, transparent pricing and multiple viewing options will attract a new segment of customers who are completely new to the pay TV ecosystem or have left the system after using it for some time. It also trusts that when its own pay TV customers want to opt out, these new services can serve as alternatives, thus keeping them under the wider AT&T umbrella. The telco also depends heavily on the 130 million mobile subscribers it has, to boost the new Mobile service offerings.

Wrap Up

AT&T’s offerings resemble Dish network’s Sling TV that provides streaming packages and content which does not require a satellite or a cable subscription. While the company has confirmed that it has finalized and secured initial content, it remains to be seen if it will be able to rope in all the four major networks and ESPN with HBO. If it succeeds in this, it will become the first OTT streaming media content provider to compete with the conventional cable providers. We have to wait for some more time to know whether this is just a packaging exercise from the telco or truly an extension of the pay TV segment.

Comparing Comcast and DirecTV

TV connection dilemmas anyone? Consider it absolved. This post aims to compare two popular TV service providers- DirecTV and Xfinity, by Comcast. While Comcast is the biggest cable TV network in the US, DirecTV is the most sought after satellite dish connection. Each service has its pros and cons. We’ve tried to cover it below.

INSTALLATION

DirecTV offers free installation for a two year deal while Comcast has no such deal. They charge an average installation fee of $50 which varies with self or professional installation.

HD CHANNELS

DirecTV supplies 166HD channels throughout the country whereas Comcast has a maximum claim to 130HD channels, that too in selected regions.

ON DEMAND

Both networks come with On Demand libraries which give you the liberty to watch a lot more content (both paid and free) over the internet. Comcast seems to beat DirecTV here with their subscription offer for On Demand. This gives access to an enviable collection of TV content.

DirecTV does not have offer an On Demand library subscription but you can rent or pay for premium channels to access content on the internet.

EQUIPMENT

With Comcast you can record four shows while watching another one. Its high end X1 HD DVR has 500GB space and can store 300hrs of SD and 60hrs of HD data.

Genie of DirecTV has a storage of 1TB and is competent to store 150hrs of HD and 400hrs of SD. You can watch 2 shows and record 5 more with Picture-in-Picture. A standard DVR like Comcast (DIRECTV with HD DVR) is also available with 500 GB space.

Additional TVs can be connected to the network by adding DVRs with both services.

TV ANYWHERE

The cloud-based X1 platform of Comcast allows you to watch live and recorded shows on multiple devices in your house. XFINITY TV GO App lets you control TV recordings anywhere from your apple and android devices. What’s more, it lets you watch your favorite programs on xfinity.com/TV from any part of the planet. The XFINITY X1 remote App ensures you can use that Apple phone as a suave remote. More reasons to get Comcast. Comcast allows you video streaming through Xfinity Streampix

Play live, recorded or On Demand stuff on any device through DirecTV Everywhere in your homes. It has a similar phone to remote app and through GenieGo connected to your HD DVR, transfer recorded shows to your laptops and tablets.

Unlike Comcast, DirecTV does not give a choice to live stream programmes on your smart devices out of your house.

SERVICE CONTRACT PERIODS

DirecTV comes only with two year contacts for new subscribers.

Comcast on the other hand doesn’t oblige with such time bound contracts. Seems to be ideal for people who move a lot.

VALUE PACKAGES

DirecTV offers 140 TV channels including HD and local for $29.99/month. Comcast has two packages; a 10 local channel package for $30.15/month and economy package for 45 channels at a range of $19.99-$39.95/month.

TOP TIER PACKAGE

Premier package of Comcast costs $99.99/month for first year to a subscription of 200 channels, whereas DirecTV offers 25 channels for $86.99/month for the first 12months.

Though DirecTV is a clear winner in the channels offered department, Comcast scores highly for service contracts, TV anywhere and On Demand options.

DirecTV Review

You have probably heard of satellite television provider DirecTV. However, you may not know the ins and outs of the company. This article is a short DirecTV review, and hopefully it will provide some insights and allow you to make optimal decisions about your provider.

The Benefits

DirecTV is one of the few providers that is available everywhere in the US (even Hawaii and Alaska!), so unlike traditional cable, no matter where you are, you can get a signal (with some caveats, see “The Disadvantages”).

It has a very diverse array of content, so you’re sure to never get bored. More recently, the company has added the Genie system to its hardware setup. This allows the user to record up to 1TB of shows and come back to watch them later. This is enough storage space for a large amount of content, even in High Definition. This technology can also record up to five shows at once, so you do not have to make a choice among shows to record.

Read: DISH vs DIRECTV

DirecTV also has two specialties many companies do not have (such as their competitor DISH). First, they offer 3D programming. Of course, this can only be viewed if you have a compatible device, and only through a few selected channels. Second, they offer the NFL Sunday Ticket, the only way to legally view all your favorite NFL teams’ games.

Perhaps another drawing factor is the fact that the contract rate you receive upon registration is good for twelve months. This alleviates concerns about sudden skyrocketing in prices that can occur when some other companies acquire new channels.

While the Sunday Ticket is perhaps the most popular sports league subscription, it should also be noted that DirecTV offers many other guaranteed access sports subscriptions through other leagues, such as the NHL.

Finally, there are many channels and on-demand content available from DirecTV in the form of mobile apps that allow you access to parts of your television subscription on the go, wherever you have internet access.

Now that you’ve heard about some of the benefits, let’s take a look at some parts of the service that are not as desirable.

The Disadvantages

One disadvantage is inherent in the fact that DirecTV is a satellite provider. As you may know, storms or even high winds can disrupt satellite signal more easily than if you received television through cable. You should especially take this into account if you live in a windy area or an area prone to severe storms.

While DirecTV does offer a twelve month price guarantee, this is a double-edged sword. The company also requires each new member to sign a two year contract. This means that once you start service, you cannot cancel it without incurring additional fees. Perhaps this is due to the material investment the company makes.

The last disadvantage of the service is that you must allow the company to put a satellite dish somewhere around your home in order to receive the signal.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully this review has answered some of your questions about DirecTV and allows you to make the best satellite tv choice for you and your family!