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Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by WestDC, Dec 10, 2019.
AT&T TV NOW May Shut Down According to MoffettNathanson - Cord Cutters News
I still don't understand why they have like 20 streaming services with very similar names and/or why their streaming service costs as much as the TV service with a bunch of features removed.
Perhaps Because Confusion can result in one or more services being subscribed to?
If it were up to me (and it absolutely is not) I would market AT&T's OTT vMPVD service as "AT&T TV" (including channels and content from other providers) and sell a separate streaming package for the AT&T owned content channels (HBO/Time Warner) as "HBO Max". I'd still offer "HBO Go" to people who subscribe to non-AT&T MPVDs.
I'm not sure if I would offer an HBO/Cinemax only version of HBO Max. I'd probably keep the sports channels out of the "our channels only" package and put them only in the MPVD/vMPVD tiers.
The plethora of brands can be confusing ... but having tiers so they don't chase away people willing to give them some money is a good choice.
Rolling Uverse into AT&T TV boosts the subscriber numbers ... so I can understand why AT&T wants to do that. It does hurt the "Premium TV" subscriber numbers (which now include Uverse). AT&T needs to show that their streaming service is growing and thriving to make their shareholders happy. Despite the continued financial success of satellite, plummeting subscriber figures are not making shareholders happy.
I think what you've described is pretty much what they're going to do. They'll have an OTT vMVPD named AT&T TV, although it will be positioned as a premium flagship cable TV service, basically replacing Uverse TV and DirecTV for customers eligible to receive it (especially those who take AT&T Internet/Fiber).
HBO Max will be made up of content from the channels/brands that WarnerMedia owns (HBO, TBS, TNT, CNN, TruTV, TCM, Cartoon Network, etc.), although it will be focused on on-demand content, not live linear channels. It remains to be seen whether it will include any live channels at all. (I expect that it will include at least the main live HBO channel, just as the Showtime OTT app includes the main live Showtime channel, but AT&T hasn't said anything about that. IMO, they shouldn't make HBO Max an inferior option to traditional MVPD-distributed HBO in any way, so that means including some or all of the live HBO channels in HBO Max. We'll see.)
They're not going to offer a version of HBO Max that only includes HBO and Cinemax. They basically already have that with HBO Now, which just includes HBO content (but no Cinemax). I anticipate that HBO Now isn't long for this world. Given that HBO Max will cost the same $15 as HBO Now, and is also a no-contract streaming service, but HBO Max will offer over twice as much content (i.e. everything from HBO Now plus a lot more), there's really no reason for HBO Now to exist once HBO Max launches. All HBO Now subscribers who are directly billed by AT&T/HBO will automatically have access to HBO Max at launch in May. My guess is that they keep HBO Now around just long enough (through end of 2020?) to get all those folks migrated over to the new HBO Max app.
I still think it's quite possible that Cinemax dies in 2020 too. That channel got de-bundled from popular packages at the two largest cable MVPDs, Comcast and Charter, this year, making it an a la carte-only option there. And Cinemax (along with HBO) got completely dropped from DISH in fall 2018. I'll bet Cinemax's sub numbers are down at least 50% now versus where they were before DISH dropped them. AT&T would obviously prefer consumers to subscribe to HBO Max than Cinemax and they're showing it by pumping WAY more money into new Max Originals exclusive to HBO Max versus the paltry line-up of Cinemax Originals that they've historically created for that service. (And never mind the consumer confusion surrounding the "Max" branding if they keep Cinemax going alongside HBO Max.) I just don't see any useful role for Cinemax to play in the 2020s.
Yeah, they have too many brands and risk customer confusion. I guess they'll keep AT&T TV Now around as the no-contract/non-premium/cord-cutter version of AT&T TV, although my guess is that AT&T TV Now will get little direct marketing attention, just riding on the coattails of the advertising for the main AT&T TV service. (And note that AT&T TV Now doesn't even have its own app, it just uses the AT&T TV app.) And then at some point, they're saying 2021, AT&T TV Now will be killed, but an optional live cable channel package add-on inside HBO Max will effectively be the same thing.
They'll count AT&T TV customers (who will likely enter under a 1 or 2-year contract, just as Uverse TV and DirecTV subs have always done) as "premium TV" subscribers. Contract-free AT&T TV Now subs won't be counted in that category.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out.