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Future Of DirecTV

DirecTV let out their plans for the future of the service, at the INTX show held in Boston this week. Following are some of the ways they will adjust their play in the pay-TV market.

AT&T’s plan involves selling monthly access to not just customers of on-demand content such as Netflix, or to Live Streaming customers such as those with Sling TV. What the company wants to do instead is set up a sort of “funnel” which will gradually draw in new customers into the pay-TV field, and cord cutters back into it.

Goncalves emphasized the new focus of the impending revamp service, which will be regular TV content, instead of the shortened content of the sort Verizon is getting for Go90. The “funnel” will begin with the DirecTV preview, offered as a free OTT service for mobile and wired internet. This would mainly have premium, on-demand content along with HQ short-form content, with ad support. The top tier will include a managed DirecTV service with regular premium programming, with DVR support.

The next thing for AT&T will be to push users to their other service tiers, like DirecTV Mobile, which will be for mobile users, and DirecTV Now for wireless and wireline viewers. The latter will come with on-demand and Live programming for networks, with a wide range of content packages.

The approach to OTT, according to Goncalves, will not include minimizing or altering the content consumers are getting today. “We are bringing high quality content — that is typically only found in a pay-TV bundle — to the masses,” he said. The first release will bring the OTT DirecTV product in the fourth quarter. Following that, there will be a revised release of the first product in the first half of 2017, which according to Goncalves, will be “more robust”.

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Near the latter side of 2018, AT&T will bring the whole DirecTV platform, which will run on both its own managed networks, as well as those it doesn’t manage directly.

Most of the components of the new service are already being provided by AT&T and some other companies. The main difference here is that the company will be targeting the pay-TV market, with a more focused strategy than it has used since acquiring DirecTV last year.

The existing products won’t be adjusted to change according to the competition, so much as contributing to a fresh TV brand. AT&T knows how much OTT will affect legacy pay-TV, and which of the new streaming innovations work best.