November 25, 2019
Following an initial trial in ten US markets, AT&T has extended the trial of its new AT&T TV service to four major cities -- New York, Miami, Minneapolis and Seattle.
Those new markets, spotted late last week by Multichannel News and now referenced on the AT&T TV website, build on an initial batch of test markets that included Orange County and Riverside, Calif.; West Palm Beach, Fla.; Topeka and Wichita, Kan.; St. Louis and Springfield, Mo.; and in Corpus Christi, El Paso, and Odessa, Texas. The most current list of AT&T TV markets also includes Tacoma, Wash., and Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.
Introduced in pilot form in August, AT&T TV is an OTT-delivered pay-TV service that runs on a 4K-capable Android TV box and features a cloud DVR and a handful of service tiers.
AT&T TV, which allows for up to three concurrent streams, works with any broadband connection, though AT&T recommends bundling it with its own high-speed service and a service level that provides speeds of at least 8 Mbit/s for "optimal viewing." AT&T is currently backing the bundling idea with a $100 reward card and $20 per month off the video streaming service for the first year when customers combine AT&T TV with the company's Internet service.
The various tiers from AT&T TV also represent a service that is more akin to a big bundle pay-TV service and counterpoint to AT&T TV Now, an OTT-TV service formerly known as DirecTV Now that provides a much smaller, slimmed-down channel lineup.
When not bundled with Internet, AT&T TV's standalone service is offered in a handful of tiers -- Entertainment (starting at $59.99 per month), Choice ($64.99 per month), Xtra ($74.99 per month), Ultimate ($79.99 per month) and Optimo Mas ($64.99).
Why this matters
With the market expansion into key markets such as New York, AT&T TV takes another step toward an expected national rollout of an offering that will serve as AT&T's next-gen pay-TV platform and one that aims to drive operational costs out of the company's video services business.
AT&T TV is also expected to serve as a major distribution point for HBO Max, a new subscription VoD service that will debut in May 2020 for $14.99 per month.
The product revamp also is happening as AT&T attempts to reduce steep pay-TV subscriber losses and focus on a more profitable set of customers. In Q3, AT&T lost about 1.3 million pay-TV subs, including 1.16 million "Premium" pay-TV subs (DirecTV satellite and U-verse IPTV) alongside 195,000 AT&T TV Now customers.
— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading
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