Direct*TV looking to Dump Discounted Folks

Discussion in 'DIRECTV General Discussion' started by WestDC, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. dminches

    dminches Godfather

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    The article seems to be talking about "discounted plans" not "discounts." My read is that they want to move customers away from the Select and Entertainment packages and into Choice and above.

    No?

    They can always just stop giving out discounts and see if people walk (which they may) but I feel like that is different than moving people away from discounted plans.
     
  2. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Maybe I'm wrong but I still expect to see a revamped set of channel packages sold across both DirecTV and the new AT&T TV come next year (when AT&T TV becomes available nationwide). AT&T renegotiated and renewed several major channel carriage contracts this year and those new contracts span all of their services now. And the AT&T CEO has spoken more than once in the past year or two about the need to "thin out" their content packages and bring the costs down. So while I'm sure all of the existing channel packages (Entertainment, Choice, Xtra, etc.) would be grandfathered in and remain available to their current subscribers (but with the usual annual price hike for 2020), I think it's possible that they'll no longer be sold to new customers or even to existing customers who want to switch over to them from a different grandfathered package.

    I also expect that all the new channel packages they sell will automatically include the new HBO Max service that will launch in May. Going forward, I don't think AT&T wants to initiate any new TV/video account that doesn't include HBO Max.
     
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  3. crkeehn

    crkeehn Godfather

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    If the Hallmark Channel is the sticking point, have you considered Philo as an alternative. The current price is $20, I'm still grandfathered at $14, which it was when I signed up. I also includes the three Hallmark channels; Hallmark, Hallmark Movies and Mysteries and Hallmark Drama. I originally had DirecTV Now and two price increases in less than a year made it look less appealing. Philo includes an unlimited DVR, however it only saves the program for 30 days. That's still better than the 20 hour 30 day DVR with DirecTV Now.
     
  4. Wayne2017

    Wayne2017 New Member

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  5. Wayne2017

    Wayne2017 New Member

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    ALL providers are increasing prices, because the greedy channel owner always want more and "give" you less. Also local channels are making a killing too! Politicians let them use public airways to deliver there content. And less not forget the sports channels, no matter who you get them from have to pay the players out of this world million+ pay increases too. I get locals only for news and network programming. Don't need or wanted news channels that have talk shows on 50% of the time or sports either or greedy Disney, cartoons, romancing Hallmark channels or women oriented channels with more commericals and yearly price increases. Sorry for the rant just my two cents.
     
  6. litzdog911

    litzdog911 Well-Known Member

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    I think it's just a matter of time until Dish and DirecTV merge as more and more customers jump to streaming alternatives. Same thing happened to XM and Sirius satellite radio.
     
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  7. bjlc

    bjlc Icon

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    so basically if you have choice plus.. WHICH AT THE TIME was Directv's BEST service, because of close to 20 years of loyalty we are now the cheap ones? so this is giving them $1500, a year , or more for close to 20 years and now we are the cheapskates? and subject to ridicule from them and here? right.. what kind of thinking is that.. ?
     
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  8. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    There has to be a benefit, and in this case there would be none. It would cost a fortune to convert Dish customers to use Directv's satellites, so the new company would end up managing three satellite fleets, one from Directv and two from Dish. You'd get some savings from unified billing and other back office tasks, but Directv already gets that savings from the (still in progress) unification with AT&T's billing, CSRs, etc. Just because it happened with satellite radio doesn't mean it will with satellite TV.

    I think they both continue and slowly fade away. Directv has satellites in place to last until at least 2030. Dish will need to launch new satellites before that time. If they do, they'll probably outlast Directv. If they don't, Dish will be first to fold.
     
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  9. techguy88

    techguy88 Well-Known Member

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    A lot of cable providers rarely give discounts to existing customers only new customers. If a TV subscriber reduces their service down to the bare bones or cuts it off altogether because they didn't get a big discount they are happy to oblige as they know you still need their more profitable broadband service for your streaming needs.

    When you look at Q2 2019 ARPU (Average Revenue Per User) both AT&T and Charter were the only MVPDs to substantially increase their ARPU after scaling back on promotions.

    AT&T which includes DirecTV, U-Verse TV and AT&T Now had an ARPU of $116.85 which grew by 9.1% when compared to Q2 2018 despite being the hardest hit in terms of subscriber loss. Charter was the only other provider to get a significant ARPU gain of 3.2% to bring their standalone TV ARPU up to $92.63.

    Dish (Dish/Sling) had a small, modest gain of 0.9% which brought their ARPU to $86.34 while Comcast (the #1 individual provider in terms of TV subs) had actually decreased ARPU by -1.6% lowering theirs to $86.16 which placed them in fourth place behind Dish.

    It seems AT&T and Charter has figured out having the most subscriber numbers no matter what the cost is not worth it in today's competitive landscape. AT&T considers DirecTV/U-Verse TV and AT&T TV to be premium video services and want customers on those platforms that will pay for those services. In AT&T's mind if you want a cheap video service they give you the option of AT&T TV Now and/or AT&T Watch TV.

    I don't believe the 400k mentioned is exclusively DirecTV. That probably includes everyone at AT&T TV Now that has Live A Little, Just Right, Go Big and Gotta Have It. They probably want all of them to migrate to Plus, Max or the packages that replicate DirecTV in terms of cost.

    For DirecTV / U-Verse TV this probably means customers who are on packages like Family or Ubasic. For DirecTV/U-Verse TV it also includes anyone who is receiving a discount that is equal to 50%+ off the regular price of the base package.
     
  10. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    As I've pointed out to you more than once, the biggest benefit that DISH and DTV would see from merging is the elimination of their only direct competitor. So, yeah, it would be a big deal for them. Plus, as you mention, unification of billing, CSRs, etc. And then there's the additional scale that the combined company would have for negotiating future channel carriage contracts. So there's plenty of incentive for the two to merge at some point, if the government would allow it.

    Forget about all the mess of converting over any existing customers to use different satellites or swap out their installed equipment. There would be nothing really to gain from such expenses. So, yeah, they'd continue to operate all three sat fleets. But then, that would have been necessary anyhow if they the remained as two separate companies. So the satellite operations part basically just maintains the status quo.
     
  11. SledgeHammer

    SledgeHammer Icon

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    Can you imagine? It ALREADY takes like 10 - 15 mins to "logon" with a CSR. Yikes. Now we're going to add a whole "are you dish or dtv?" layer?

    A lot of customers would pay for new boxes if they did something meaningful.

    Carriage contracts aren't going to go down. They're just going to go up at a moderately higher rate on traditionals and a exponential rate on streaming as they close the price gaps.
     
  12. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    Heh. Well, I didn't say a merger between DTV and DISH would be good for consumers, only that it will, at some point, be desirable from the standpoint of the owners of those businesses.

    Yeah, maybe. And as long as the customers themselves are paying for the hardware -- e.g. a DTV customer choosing to pay to get a new Hopper DVR that's compatible with his DTV installation -- then fine. But I can't see why, post-merger, the operator would try to force such a change, because it would be a big expense if the operator paid for it. And it would only cause many customers to completely cancel if they were forced to switch out their box and pay for it themselves.

    Same situation applies, for instance, to DISH right now. They'd love all their long-time customers to upgrade to a Hopper but they're not forcing it and they're not giving them away for free. You've either got to pay or (more likely) sign a new 2-year contract. Otherwise, they just let you stay on your old VIP-722 or -622, which is what my parents are doing until they eventually cancel.

    Right, but I didn't argue that carriage prices for cable channels would go down in general. The argument I was making is that if an MVPD dramatically increases the number of subscribers it has (or it prevents dramatic losses that would otherwise have occurred), then it will be able to negotiate better carriage rates than otherwise.
     
  13. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    Looking at this year's attrition levels, AT&T|DIRECTV will run out of customers in 2025. AT&T Now will run out of customers in 2021. The bleeding has to stop. (Based on this year's attrition levels, DISH will run out of satellite subscribers in 2037.) It is not hard to see DIRECTV moving to a Ka only system and selling their DBS satellites and licenses to DISH. Not necessarily a merger, but a transfer of assets.
     
  14. wmb

    wmb Godfather

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    T-12 (DirecTV 12) was launched in 2009 with a 15 year mission, so it has another 5 years. After that, AT&T will only have T-14, T-15 and T-16 in service. Lead time for satellites is years, and T-14 is EOL in 2029. So, if they plan to continue DBS service, they need to be getting ready to buy some birds. And, birds are pricey.

    But, if as you say, DirecTV/AT&T will have lost their DBS customer pool by then, there would be no need for more birds.

    Selling the birds to Dish is an option, but, I'll leave it as an exercise for others to look into how AT&T's birds could be integrated with Dish's to extend the life of a single DBS provider beyond 2025.

    From a capital expenditures perspective, ditching satellites for streaming makes sense. However, the existing satellites are a sunk cost, amortized over their life, so there is no reason to discontinue DBS for a while.

    I'm also curious about the future of linear TV. I find it useful for mindless watching, like most evenings when I only have an hour or so of free time that matches up with my wife and we don't want to start a series. Although we are more likely now to watch an episode or two of a series than we were a year ago. However, I feel I'm something of an outlier.

    I do think there will be a market for MVPD or vMVPD services. I'm just not sure of the mode of delivery. DBS is probably on its last legs, but will die a slow death as infrastructure reaches end of life and isn't replaced. Streaming is the likely value-added alternative to the local cable company. I liked AT&T Now's user interface better than YouTube TV, but not enough to justify the price difference since I don't get HBO. Hulu Live's interface was much worse.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. Rich

    Rich DBSTalk Club DBSTalk Club

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    It's BS, that's all it is. They'll say anything they can think of to mitigate the damage. Yes, to be ridiculed here is wrong, I think. I don't make the calls for credits very often but this nonsense isn't gonna stop me...no matter what anyone thinks.

    Rich
     
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  16. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    There is zero chance that Directv will abandon 101, so no chance they go Ka only. It remains to be seen if they do something to 'make things easy' for Dish to get Directv's 110/119 slots, or make it difficult. Directv recently filed something with the FCC indicating they plan to move their D8 satellite from 101 to 119 next year.

    The satellite currently at 119 is licensed until 2021 (and may have fuel life beyond that, we don't know) so if they were planning to abandon that slot when they were done with it (which will probably be sometime next year, or early 2021 at the latest) they wouldn't have any reason to move D8 there. So they may play to stick D8 there to "squat" on those transponders and prevent Dish from being able to use them. D8 has fuel life until 2034, so it can squat there for a long time!
     
  17. slice1900

    slice1900 Well-Known Member

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    The "mission length" is irrelevant, satellites routinely last well beyond their initial mission duration. Directv's D8 was launched in 2005 with a mission life of something like 12 years, and they have said it has fuel life until 2034. Most won't outlast their mission life by so much, but the idea that D12 needs to be replaced in 2024 because it had a 15 year mission life is ludicrous. It will most likely last until the early 2030s barring some sort of unforeseen failure.

    Directv basically has a fleet in place that will last them in excess of another decade without needing to ever launch another satellite. By the time they need to retire some of those satellites, there probably won't be as many channels so they could squeeze another few years out of the system if they were still making money on satellite TV (though they'd lose locals from some smaller markets)
     
  18. James Long

    James Long Ready for Uplink! Staff Member Super Moderator

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    The Ka satellites would not integrate without new dishes for DISH customers. DBS satellites can be moved around. The licenses at 119 and 110 would be valuable to DISH ... they could discontinue use of 129 without changing the customer's dishes.

    My wife and I find YouTube (the free version) useful for hours mindless viewing. Look for a video, follow the linked videos and hours later realize that hours have passed. Then delete history so related videos don't show up the next time we watch a video. :)
     
  19. NashGuy

    NashGuy Well-Known Member

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    AT&T leadership clearly indicated that they had launched their last satellite with the T-16 that went up this past summer. So DTV will make do with what they have now. But even after T-12 hits EOL in 2024, won't the T-14/15/16 trio be sufficient to carry the full service? Also, I expect the number of linear cable channels to only decrease between now and 2024 as more and more of the video landscape shifts to direct-to-consumer streaming services like HBO Max, Peacock, Hulu, Disney+, etc. So I expect the DTV service load to become lighter over time.

    By the time T-14 hits EOL in 2029, I doubt that there will even be sufficient retail market demand for DBS TV to make it a worthwhile commercial enterprise, even if T-15 and T-16 would be sufficient at that point to carry the service load. I just believe that by then broadband access will be so ubiquitous (including via Starlink and/or other low-earth orbit satellite broadband providers, plus 5G, etc.) that nearly everyone will have moved on to getting whatever kind of video entertainment they want (on-demand and/or live linear) via streaming (OTT and/or managed IPTV). Perhaps there would still be a commercial market for DBS TV service, though, to deliver live sportscasts to sports bars, live news channels to airports and bars, etc.

    Will be very interesting to see what happens with linear channels over the course of the 2020s. The main reasons for them to exist right now are live sports and live news/talk (both national and local). But that sort of content is slowly becoming available via streaming services (e.g. ESPN+, DAZN, CBSN, etc.).

    Beyond that, I think linear channels still have appeal -- especially to the middle-age and older crowd -- through force of habit. It's the way we grew up watching TV. And live linear channels automatically serve up something to watch when you don't want to scroll and scroll through a wall of on-demand choices. Of course, OTT streaming TV can fill that use-case if it wants, and we're already seeing it happen with Pluto TV. Perhaps we'll begin seeing some on-demand services include a personalized autoplay feature that you can turn on so that it plays an algorithmically curated playlist of one show after another. Don't like the current title it's showing? Click a button to skip to the next. Instead of channel surfing, call it stream surfing.

    Yep.

    I think we may see MVPD linear channel packages increasingly become optional add-ons to the major direct-to-consumer OTT services, just as Hulu already offers. We know that AT&T will do the same with HBO Max starting in 2021. I don't know why Comcast wouldn't do the same with their upcoming Peacock service. For that matter, perhaps the newly merged ViacomCBS will also do it with CBS All Access. In the long run, there are a handful of major media groups that own all the content that matters and they'll mainly offer that content to consumers via their own on-demand services. For those customers who still want a package of live cable channels owned by other companies, they'll just be given the option of adding them into that same app.
     
  20. dod1450

    dod1450 Legend

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    XMsirius and Pandora had merged. But each is still charging an individual price, not collective.
     

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