When Pay TV Isn’t Cable, Satellite, or IPTV

by Michael Inouye | 2Q 2016 | IN-4041

AT&T announced its intention to launch an OTT TV service in the fourth quarter of 2016 – with DirecTV branding. AT&T certainly isn’t the first company to offer a premium television service to consumers through the Internet; both Sling / Dish and Sony, for instance, launched services that preceded this announcement while others, like Aereo, had similar visions, but failed due to regulatory issues. Sony, in fact, recently expanded its Vue service to an additional 203 markets from the original seven (Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco). The new services, however, are launching as “Slim” tiers (Access with 55+ channels for $29.99 / month, Core with 70+ channels at $34.99 / month, and Elite with 100+ channels for $44.99 / month). This means broadcast channels (ABC, CBS, Fox, and NBC) will only offer VOD content, although live CBS programming is planned for select cities this year. Other local / live programming is expected to get added over time, but for the time being, this will certainly serve as a hurdle for the service. PlayStation Vue’s live local channels in the original seven markets were a key differentiator for the service compared to Sling TV, which currently only offers cable channels. With this level of activity, are we starting to see the beginning of the end for traditional pay-TV services?

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