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28 Jun

AT&T® is Reportedly Planning to Acquire Otter Media This Summer

TV Providers

Acquiring Media Assets

As per reports, AT&T® is looking to acquire Otter Media. Earlier this month, after the telecommunications company acquired Time Warner®, it announced more acquisition plans. This new news on acquisition is circulating on the web only days following the announcement of AT&T® regarding plans for acquisitions in future.

Otter Media is a joint venture between AT&T® and Time Warner®, and The Chernin Group, now known as WarnerMedia. However, being one of the alternative TV providers and internet companies, AT&T® is planning to fully acquire the media company to improve its streaming portfolio. The reports also indicate that this AT&T®-Otter Media deal has been on the radar for years and that it was on hold as AT&T®-Time Warner® was yet to clear regulatory hurdles. Now that the Telco giant has acquired the media company and renamed it to WarnerMedia, other acquisitions are on the cards.

The media company named Otter Media has holdings with Crunchyroll, which is a website that centers on video streaming, and FullScreen. So, acquiring the media company will give AT&T® control of both its subsidiaries. So far, a word is yet to come from AT&T® regarding what they are going to do after the acquisition, which will reportedly cost the Telco over 1 billion dollars.

Internet Providers

High Speed Internet

Since Otter Media’s launch in 2014, its user base has grown as millions have gone into the project. The Crunchyroll website premieres content to those who stream videos, including Japanese anime, and its tie-up with the media company named Funimation has brought plenty of titles to its catalog. However, it is not clear as to how AT&T’s acquisition of Otter Media will affect the services of Crunchyroll but big things are expected out of the deal.

In 2017, Funimation announced that Sony Pictures Television has bought a major stock in the media company so as to make it an acquisition. The deal between Sony TV and Funimation had started in July 2017, and after Sony’s assessment that the media company’s worth is around $150 million, it agreed with the terms of the acquisition which was finalized in October last year.

On the other hand, the competing streaming TV providers will keep a close watch on how things unfold between AT&T® and Otter Media. If the deal is to go through, much like Sony TV’s acquisition of Funimation, it will have an influence on the streaming industry.

24 May

Top Dish Network® Packages for French

Dish Network Packages

International TV Packages

Dish Network® is one of the leading TV providers in the country and they offer a wide variety of TV plans and bundling options to customers to ensure that all their needs and requirements are met. The international TV packages of Dish Network® give you access to some of the best international channels. For instance, if you are a person who loves to watch Italian movies and TV shows, then the Italian Dish Network® packages will be an absolute treat for you. In addition to Italian, Dish Network® also offer packages that allow you to watch French, Spanish, Indian, Brazilian, and more international channels.

Dish Network® has an amazing collection of programs and channels in French. The telecom giant is currently offering two different French TV packages to customers. Below are a few important details about these packages that will help you to decide which one is the ideal choice for you.

French Bouquet

French Bouquet is one of the most popular International Dish Network® packages. Customers who subscribe to this package will be able to enjoy access to excellent French and African TV programming including music videos, classic movies, game shows, cultural programs, kid’s programs, documentaries, movies, musical programs, drama series, news, sports events, and more.

TV Providers

Favorite TV Shows

The French Bouquet TV package is available to customers for just $19.99 a month, and it lets you watch eight popular international channels. Some of the best TV networks that are included in the package are EuroNews, TV5 Monde, TV5 Monde HD, Afrotainment Movies, and France 24.

French TV5 Monde

This excellent Dish Network® package gives you access to a number of excellent TV programs from Canada, Quebec, Switzerland, Belgium, and France. Customers who subscribe to this package will be able to watch sports events, cultural entertainment programs, movies, documentaries, current affairs programs, and latest newscasts.

French TV5 Monde TV package contains just a couple of channels though, namely TV5 Monde and TV5 Monde HD. So, if you need access only to just a few French channels, it is best to choose this package. French TV5 Monde TV package is available to customers at $9.99 per month.

12 Jan

AT&T® to Launch New Structural Monitoring Solution

TV Providers

Structural Monitoring Solution

AT&T® takes the New Year resolution to make the communities and cities safer, smarter, and more efficient by developing and delivering the Internet of Things (IoT) solutions. Reports  say that the company is now trying out a new structure monitoring solution to improve the safety of the railways and roadways.

AT&T® recently launched a digital infrastructure solution, and the new project will team up with this and other client smart cities including the US spotlight cities. According to AT&T® officials, the US infrastructure project is maturing and in disrepair. Almost half of the bridges in the US are built before 50 years. They also said that to analyze the state of the railways and roads, the organizations generally count on the visual inspections only, which often fail to inspect many rural and remote roadways and railways, as they are not easily reachable.

The company representatives also added that most of the alternatives used for monitoring the remote areas is not suitable for a long-term use because of its bulkiness and age-old technology solutions. AT&T® is determined to deliver the solutions for this so that the team can monitor the environmental and structural factors of remote areas also, once they launch it.

According to Mike Zeto, the General Manager of AT&T® Smart Cities, “Safety is a top concern of citizens and cities alike. This concern extends beyond the realm of crime and natural disasters. It also includes the safety of our infrastructure.” He further added that, “We’re pleased to test this solution, which will allow for smart infrastructure analysis and monitoring”

Internet Providers

High Speed Internet

With the latest structure monitoring solutions of AT&T® Smart Cities, the selected infrastructure will get an AT&T® LTE- enabled sensors that will help to monitor the remote structural factors. The sensors mainly measure the tilts and cracks, and alert triggers; email alerts are also employed in the sensor to notify and capture the significant events.

The AT&T® structural monitoring solutions have a lower operational cost because of its lesser manual inspections and it would help to improve the planning and safety measures. Furthermore, the organizations can monitor the remote structures using the internet and a web-enabled device with these structural monitoring solutions.

This product will join their growing smart city solutions that include AT&T® smart irrigation, AT&T® Smart Cities Digital Infrastructure, AT&T® Smart Cities Grid Solutions – Prepay Energy, AT&T® Smart Cities Operation Center, and AT&T® Smart Grid – Solar Solution.

24 Oct

CenturyLink® Seeks FCC Approval For 3.4 To 3.7 GHz Wireless Spectrum Trails

TV Providers

Wireless Spectrum Trails

One of the fastest internet providers in the United States, CenturyLink® is seeking the approval of FCC to conduct new trails of 3.4 to 3.7 GHz fixed wireless spectrum bands. Reports from reliable sources claim that the telecom company is conducting trials in order to extend their broadband internet service to hard-to-reach rural parts where the company is unable to extend wireline facilities.

The officials from CenturyLink® refused to share any further details on the 3.4 to 3.7 GHz trail to the public. However, in the FCC filing, the telecom company stated that they want to see how they could use these wireless spectrum bands to offer broadband internet service to their customers.

In the filing, CenturyLink® said, “In its experimental license application, CenturyLink seeks a license to conduct fixed testing in the 3.54 GHz to 3.70 GHz frequency band. The testing seeks to understand the viability of new technologies in this band that may be useful in providing fixed broadband services.”

Officials from the company also added, “CenturyLink® seeks confidential treatment for the Exhibit on the basis that it contains confidential commercial information, technical data, and trade secrets concerning CenturyLink® services under development and related testing processes, all of which CenturyLink® customarily guards from public disclosure.”

Internet Providers

Wireless Build-Outs

In addition to the above-mentioned wireless spectrum bands of 3.4-3.7 GHz, the telecom giant is also planning to look at how this could work other wireless providers who have started to roll out the future wireless networks to their customers. The CEO of CenturyLink®, Glen Post recently confirmed that they are open to new partnerships that will help them to boost the speed at which they are currently rolling out service to rural parts of the country.

Post said, “On the wireless side, we want to partner with 5G providers and other wireless providers where we can bring higher speeds to customers at less costs. If some of the proposed wireless build-outs occur in the CAF-II areas we cover, we think it will be a lower-cost opportunity to reach those customers and cover higher speeds for a lot more customers with that type of technology.”

CenturyLink® is not the only telecom company who is planning to offer better broadband access to customers in rural areas. Fellow rural-centric providers such as Windstream®, Consolidated®, and Frontier® are also trying to expand their broadband service.

21 Apr

What Makes Time Warner-AT&T Deal Interesting

TV Providers

AT&T-Time Warner Deal

The Federal Communications Commission might have done a huge favor for AT&T, whose intentions to strike a deal with Time Warner cable is nearing. The deal worth $85.4 billion, when done, would presumably leave other cable TV providers on their own in Atlanta.

Recently, Time Warner sold one of its stations in Atlanta to Meredith Corp to clear licensing terms with FCC and the public review. The direct license transferring between Time Warner and AT&T would now be counted as just an acquisition, and not a merger. FCC conducts public interest review only when licenses transfer directly between TV providers in mergers and acquisition.

It is quite natural the consumer needs regarding entertainment are heard and so do their claims when major mergers and acquisitions happen. The extensive public reviews via FCC depend on the Department of Justice Senate Democrats who holds the key now. When the deal is over, Time Warner channels such as HBO, CNN, and Turner Broadcasting System would be under AT&T license making revisions a formality.

Even among standard cable TV providers, American consumers seek info on subscription, so one would expect relevancy in ads and broadcasts from AT&T cable. Going by the ISP merger with Charter, AT&T might as well adopt the same strategy to cable also once the Time Warner deal is done.

The Trump Intervention

Cable TV Providers

Time Warner cable

The United States President gave his views on the Time Warner-AT&T deals only during campaigning. In fact, President Trump has an appointed antitrust chief under his jurisdiction to ensure trustworthiness in mergers and acquisitions to American consumers. Then again, those subjects of diplomacy matter relatively to all parties concerned for entertainment sells in America.

It is going to be very interesting to see what would happen next when the proposed deal gets down to its elements. Is the AT&T-Time Warner deal going to invite further competition from cable TV providers? Is Time Warner going to reveal sequential status updates to their present pay TV partners? Would the initial offering of $85.4 billion stay as essentially the same? As of now, we would simply have to wait to get answers to all these questions and many more.

13 Feb

CenturyLink May Offer Streaming TV Or Just DirecTV Now Service

CenturyLink TV

CenturyLink Streaming TV

More and more users are cutting the cord these days, and moving to options like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. This has made many traditional TV service providers to think about cable TV alternatives and the recent name in the line is CenturyLink. Reports say that CenturyLink TV is in the middle of testing their OTT streaming service in four of their markets.

The CEO of CenturyLink, Glen Post said that they would consider providing a streaming TV service, like the DirecTV Now service of AT&T. This service will be offered in addition to the in-house TV service of the company. Post explained in a call with analysts that their progress on TV offering will make channels widely available to viewers who live in locations with copper lines that are not capable enough to handle the traditional TV signals.

Third party services like DirecTV Now can help CenturyLink to have a control on the cost of carrying the popular channels. CenturyLink Chief Financial Officer, Stewart Ewing said that they might be interested in reselling the DirecTV Now service, instead of offering their own streaming service.

“Content costs have really gone out of sight in recent years,” Ewing said. “We are looking at every option. If we can get a better deal where we can get some of our content costs down with a DirecTV, we will certainly take a look at that. We are talking to all the service providers, looking at every possibility there.”

Experts believe that the streaming service is meant to act as a replacement for the Prism IPTV service from CenturyLink. CenturyLink said that they are planning to de-emphasize the Prism IPTV service.

TV Providers

DirecTV Now

The OTT offering from CenturyLink is expected to offer a slimmed down set of channels, but might not include local channels. CEO Post said that the network DVR functionality, which is currently being offered by PlayStation Vue, is planned for their streaming service also.

“Our trials are getting really strong reviews right now,” Post said in the company earnings call. Although he did not say anything about testing the service in more markets before the official roll put, he said that they are planning to offer the OTT service by the second quarter of 2017.

Either options of CenturyLink will pose issues to the existing streaming TV services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. However, CenturyLink does not plan to dominate the market. Post said that they do not view streaming TV service as a “significant revenue opportunity” in 2017.

10 Feb

AT&T Labor Negotiations – 21000 Workers May Vote For Strike

TV Providers

AT&T Call Center

It is expected that another 21,000 workers at AT&T will authorize a strike in votes this week. This strike is intended to be a show of seriousness at the start of negotiations over a recently made contract. It is reported that the current contract that covers wireless retail, technical, and call center workers in 36 states will expire on February 11, 2017.

This expected vote follows a similar move by 17,000 AT&T employees in the traditional wired phone business of AT&T in California and Nevada. These employees were working without a contract since the month of April. “AT&T is underestimating their workers’ anger, frustration, and commitment to winning a fair contract,” said Dennis Trainer, who is the vice president for District 1 of the AT&T workers’ union, under the Communications Workers of America.

However, despite of the strike authorization vote, which is not an uncommon bargaining tactic, AT&T said that they remain committed to find common ground. AT&T had a long history of labor peace with their employees and their main union, the Communications Workers of America. Last strike in AT&T was before five years and it lasted only two days, whereas about 40,000 workers in Verizon went out on strike for seven weeks last year.

“A strike vote is not an unexpected step in negotiations of this sort and is often a part of the process,” an AT&T representative said. “We’re continuing to bargain with the union and we’re committed to reaching a fair agreement that will allow us to continue to provide solid union-represented careers with excellent wages and benefits.”

DirecTV Choice Package

Workers Vote For Strike

AT&T proposed removing the pension benefits for the fresh recruits, decreasing the number of sick days, and paying one third of the health care insurance premium cost, but they declined to comment on their specific proposals. However, one of the officials said that they are not seeking to take away any benefits or cut employee pay.

Like the Verizon employees, who went out on strike, AT&T workers also highlighted the outsourcing of call center jobs outside the country. Employees of Verizon said that the carrier has moved 8,000 call center jobs since 2011 to different countries like Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Philippines. Halting the offshore outsourcing of call center jobs was also the prime point of a letter from seven Democratic senators to President Trump.

31 Jan

Analyst Says AT&T Is Losing Big Money On Every DirecTV Now Promo Subscription

TV Providers

DirecTV Now Subscribers

AT&T has released their streaming TV service, DirecTV Now, recently and they have been offering promotional prices to attract more and more users to the various packages. The various tiers of DirecTV Now are Live a Little, Just Right, Go Big and Gotta Have It, and the pricings for the packages are 35 dollars, 50 dollars, 60 dollars, and 70 dollars respectively.

The Go Big tier was offered for a promotional pricing of thirty-five dollars, which is now expired, but according to analyst Craig Moffett, AT&T will lose about 355 dollars per user who has signed up for the Go Big tier of DirecTV Now during the 35 dollar per month promotional period.

The figures were first reported in early December, right after the launch of the DirecTV Now service. The report examined the overall pay TV user data of the parent company of the streaming service. AT&T released a pre-earnings document recently and the document indicated that they have grown their pay TV user base in the fourth quarter. The increase in the pay TV subscriber base solely accounts to DirecTV Now.

DirecTV Packages

Streaming TV Service

There were many issues with the DirecTV Now service, but even with all the glitches, it managed to bag around 200,000 new signups. However, Moffett noted that the lifetime value of a traditional DirecTV satellite user is 2,500 dollars, and as the traditional platforms of AT&T, U-Verse and DirecTV are not adding any new users. Moffett calculated that, “The value erosion just from the positive net additions of DirecTV subscribers likely exceeds $70 million.”

AT&T ended their thirty-five dollar promotion of the DirecTV Now Go Big package on Jan 9 and restored the tier price to 60 dollars a month. It is not yet clear how many initial signup of DirecTV Now went with the Go Big package, but it will be safe to assume that most of the early signups went with the promotional deal.

It is reported that AT&T will release their full fourth quarter earnings report soon and we will able to understand on the user base and signups of DirecTV Now only after the release of their full earnings report.

24 Jan

NBCUniversal And Charter Spectrum Avoid Blackout

Charter Spectrum Video

NBCUniversal Channels

NBCUniversal and Charter Communications have made a new carriage deal. This new deal ends the dispute between Charter and NBC that earlier threatened to blackout NBC programming for the 16 million US homes.

The dispute over the carriage fees was much acute in the last days of 2016. NBCUniversal, owned by Comcast, used leverage by threatening to pull their channels, that too on the eve of the NBC “Sunday Night Football” game. Yet as the talks between NBCUniversal and Charter progressed, NBCU abandoned their threatened blackout.

Both Charter and NBCUniversal declined to offer any details of their new agreement, yet it is reported that the dispute was focused on the hike in fee that NBCUniversal was demanding for their channels. Under per the new agreement though, the distribution of KNBC-TV (Channel 4) in LA and the other NBC owned TV stations like Spanish-language Telemundo, NBC cable channels like USA Network, Bravo, CNBC, Syfy, MSNBC, E!, and NBC Sports are all covered.

Charter is the largest pay TV provider in South California. In Los Angeles itself, there are more than 1.6 million homes, that have Charter Spectrum Video service, and San Diego County has another 100,000 Spectrum homes. With the deal made, Charter Spectrum subscribers won’t have to miss any of their favorite programming on the NBCUniversal network.

Carriage Disputes

TV Providers

Charter Communications

Controversial carriage negotiations are much common in the television industry these days. Companies like NBCUniversal have been spending much money in programming, especially for sports, and they want to generate more revenue through their network. For instance, NBC pays the NFL more than a billion dollars every year to have the rights to telecast “Sunday Night Football.”

Pay TV operators face increasingly uncertain environment as more and more users are cutting the cord in favor of the low cost alternatives like Hulu, Netflix, and Sling. Distributors do not wish to risk alienating their users by increasing the rates. So, they are struggling hard to hold the lines in terms of cost.

Reports say that Charter is dropping Esquire channel of NBCUniversal as per the new deal, and by this, Charter has become the third distributor to get rid of Esquire. DirecTV and Dish Network also do not offer Esquire anymore, and NBCUniversal said that they are planning to keep Esquire as a digital brand.

23 Jan

New Data Suggests Substantial Growth Of DirecTV Now

TV Providers

Growth Of DirecTV Now

AT&T’s DirecTV Now brought many new changes into streaming television arena, and that earned it a quick popularity among the customers. The broadcaster has never disclosed any details regarding their subscriber numbers, although a new study by a top streaming industry analyst claims that DirecTV Now is growing big.

According to Dan Rayburn, who is the principal analyst for Frost & Sullivan, AT&T’s online video service has peaked about 35,000 simultaneous viewers. He backed up his study on the data obtained from some third party suppliers that deliver video content for DirecTV Now. The results of this data have demonstrated the success of this streaming platform and the popularity that it had achieved among the customers.

He further clarified some aspects regarding this growing subscriber base of DirecTV Now. However, the simultaneous usage figure never represents the actual number of subscribers of the streaming service. It is, in fact, an industry average stating that 25 percent of users are relying on the streaming service in a neighborhood of 140,000 people.

This subscriber figure is also indicative of the customers who are test-running the service for free in their first 30 days trial period. Rayburn stated, “While I don’t know what percentage of total users are paid versus non-paid, I would estimate AT&T has less than 100,000 paying subs for their new service since it launched.”

Cable TV Providers

Online Video Service

There has also been a lot of negative buildup in the new and growing amounts of subscribers signing up for the service. This is attributed to the many technical and service issues that DirecTV Now has suffered in the days after its launch. In addition to that, the company also dropped its $35 per month promotional price for its 100-channel lineup, which was offered in order to stir a quick subscription rate.

Rayburn concluded the results of the data by suggesting that, “When a service like AT&T’s struggles with reliability, video quality and functionality, and has non-existent support for consumers, it’s not going to fare well. DirecTV Now won’t have any material impact on cable TV subscriber numbers and isn’t a catalyst for cord cutting.”

This is highly relevant since the streaming service is still caught up in many technical issues and has been unsatisfactory for most customers. AT&T should address these issues pertaining to both technical and the service to earn credibility among the subscribers. Interestingly, AT&T has denied to comment on the estimated data on DirecTV Now.


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