November 14, 2018
As expected, DirecTV plans to roll out a proprietary streaming media device in 2019 that would enable consumers to access online TV service DirecTV Now using their own broadband or high-speed Internet connectivity.
The device, which would be similar to a Roku or Apple TV device, would help DirecTV reduce subscriber acquisition costs typically associated with the installation of pay TV service, including truck rolls and employees climbing the roof installing satellite receivers.
Speaking Nov. 14 at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom confab in Barcelona, AT&T CFO John Stephens said the streaming device would afford DirecTV with the same data insights and targeted advertising (driven by data analytics subsidiary Xandr) as linear pay-TV.
“It’s a device that allows us to instead of rolling a [service] truck to the home, we roll a UPS or FedEx truck to the home,” he said.
The executive said the box would help AT&T boost broadband subscriptions, which currently total about 15 million households.
“We certainly hope it’s our own fiber, but it can be on anybody’s broadband,” Stephens said.” “We are testing it with employees today.”
Charter Communications followed a similar strategy in 2015 when it launched standalone online TV service Spectrum TV Plus to broadband customers. New subs were given a free Roku 3 streaming media device to facilitate the $20 monthly service.
Separately, Stephens said oral arguments in the Justice Department’s appeal of the $85 billion AT&T/Time Warner merger are due Dec. 6 – with a decision by the three-judge panel expected next year.
“Quite frankly, we’re confident the decision will be upheld,” he said. “It’s a process we have get through. But we’re not spending a lot of time thinking about it.”