AT&T plans $15 monthly 'skinny bundle' TV streaming service, free to its wireless subscrib...

Posted:
in General Discussion edited April 2018
In another salvo in the battle for the nation's cord cutters, AT&T will launch AT&T Watch soon, one of the least expensive bundles available that will directly compete with its own DirecTV Now service.

AT&T Van


The new "AT&T Watch" service, was announced in an unconventional manner, according to the Wall Street Journal: AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson described it on the witness stand, while testifying Thursday in the antitrust case involving the company's pending $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner.

AT&T Watch will cost $15 per month, and will launch in the coming weeks. It's not clear what will be offered as part of the bundle, but it will not include sports channels, and will also be free for AT&T Wireless subscribers.

AT&T has not as of yet issued a press release for the launch; all that's known is from media accounts of Stephenson's testimony.

The Competition

The new AT&T Watch service will have many competitors, among them another owned by AT&T: DirecTV Now, which launched in 2016 and offers tiers that start at $35 per month. Current incentives, such as a free Apple TV 4K with three months of prepaid service, make the plans even more attractive, however.

Other skinny bundles include Dish Network's Sling TV. Apple had reportedly planned a skinny bundle streaming service in 2015, but talks fell apart that year and it never launched. Amazon planned and abandoned a similar push two years later.

It's unclear what the status is of any Apple streaming service plans, although Apple's video plans for the near future appear to be focused on creation of original content versus streaming content produced by other studios.

Whether the launch of AT&T Watch is an earnest business move, or merely a ploy to appease the court and regulators to ensure that the merger goes through, is unclear. The Justice Department has sued to block the merger.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 18
    I wonder how long It will take to become a discounted pay service for wireless customers. And then a less-discounted pay service and so on. 
  • Reply 2 of 18
    wood1208wood1208 Posts: 1,701member
    Good new for AT&T wireless subscribers and probably others at $15 price. Important thing is which channels such package carries and simply being AT&T wireless subscribers, can I stream them over Wifi(limited Data is beech) on my phone ? Why not AT&T offers same $15 package as part of there DirectTV Now ? As a side note, due to cable-cutter's, Cable TV providers like Spectrum have started Ala-carte Streaming package, choose your channels(10 channels for $21) from a larger list.
    edited April 2018
  • Reply 3 of 18
    Mike WuertheleMike Wuerthele Posts: 3,871administrator
    wood1208 said:
    Good new for AT&T wireless subscribers and probably others at $15 price. Important thing is which channels such package carries and can I stream them over Wifi on my phone ?
    All good questions, yet to be formally announced.
  • Reply 4 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member
    In my personal experience cord cutting is difficult because of the local channel issues. I have an amplified attic antenna but reception is squirrelly at times and we don’t get our local PBS station at all. My line of site to the direction of the broadcast antennas includes my town’s massive steel water tower. As far as I know none of the streaming bundles out there include local channels. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am an AT&T wireless subscriber so the free bundle is welcome news.
  • Reply 5 of 18
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 6,530member
    I wonder how long It will take to become a discounted pay service for wireless customers. And then a less-discounted pay service and so on. 
    For every AT&T hater there’s a corresponding Verizon hater, T-Mobile hater, Sprint hater, Cricket hater, Cox hater, Spectrum hater, Time Warner hater, et al haters. So what’s your point and why do you think companies are not allowed to make a profit for the services they provide? 
  • Reply 6 of 18
    lkrupp said:
    In my personal experience cord cutting is difficult because of the local channel issues. I have an amplified attic antenna but reception is squirrelly at times and we don’t get our local PBS station at all. My line of site to the direction of the broadcast antennas includes my town’s massive steel water tower. As far as I know none of the streaming bundles out there include local channels. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am an AT&T wireless subscriber so the free bundle is welcome news.
    Actually, most of the streaming bundles now offer access to Local broadcast channels BUT the big "if" is if you live in one of the markets where the local channels are offered. Most large markets are now offered by the streamers and many medium sized too . Good luck if you are in a small/rural market ;)
  • Reply 7 of 18
    I'd be with Direct Now but for the fact that it is limited to only 2 devices at a time. Not good for a household. ATT needs to stop adding more stuff and fix what it has.
  • Reply 8 of 18
    d_2d_2 Posts: 54member
    lkrupp said:
    In my personal experience cord cutting is difficult because of the local channel issues. I have an amplified attic antenna but reception is squirrelly at times and we don’t get our local PBS station at all. My line of site to the direction of the broadcast antennas includes my town’s massive steel water tower. As far as I know none of the streaming bundles out there include local channels. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am an AT&T wireless subscriber so the free bundle is welcome news.
    Actually, most of the streaming bundles now offer access to Local broadcast channels BUT the big "if" is if you live in one of the markets where the local channels are offered. Most large markets are now offered by the streamers and many medium sized too . Good luck if you are in a small/rural market ;)
    Very well responded, and adding that many of the middle-size markets may only have 1-2 of the 4 local networks ... at least for now... no matter which streaming platform you choose.
  • Reply 9 of 18
    lkrupp said:
    I wonder how long It will take to become a discounted pay service for wireless customers. And then a less-discounted pay service and so on. 
    For every AT&T hater there’s a corresponding Verizon hater, T-Mobile hater, Sprint hater, Cricket hater, Cox hater, Spectrum hater, Time Warner hater, et al haters. So what’s your point and why do you think companies are not allowed to make a profit for the services they provide? 
    Ha ha! So, because I’m wondering how long the service will be provided for free I must be a hater and against companies making a profit.  OK...

    If the service is free how are they profiting off of it AT ALL by not charging me a higher rate on my current bill?

    Since I have to spell it out for you (which seems unusual for you), my point is how long can AT&T offer an extra service for free, one that on the surface seems will cost them money, before they need to start charging for it?
  • Reply 10 of 18
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,412member
    They must be losing subscribers at a spectacular pace to stoop this low. On the other hand, competition is always good.
  • Reply 11 of 18
    cpsrocpsro Posts: 2,424member
    lkrupp said:
    In my personal experience cord cutting is difficult because of the local channel issues. I have an amplified attic antenna but reception is squirrelly at times and we don’t get our local PBS station at all. My line of site to the direction of the broadcast antennas includes my town’s massive steel water tower. As far as I know none of the streaming bundles out there include local channels. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am an AT&T wireless subscriber so the free bundle is welcome news.
    Even in its base $35/month bundle, DirecTV Now includes local ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates, but unfortunately not PBS. HD streaming in the DirecTV Now app over cellular is 100% free for AT&T wireless customers at all service levels.  DirecTV Now is the only streaming service provding the Tennis Channel, starting in the $50/month "Just Right" bundle.  (You'll pay twice that to get the Tennis Channel with DirecTV satellite service.) I've also read something about DirecTV Now providing the highest frame rate of all the streaming services.  As an early subscriber, I'm still getting the "Go Big" package for $35/month (and am very happy).  DVR service is in beta testing, perhaps to be generally released after a TiVo time shifting patent expires this summer.
    If you subscribe to AT&T wireless Premium Unlimited, a $25/month discount is given toward DTVNow.
    BTW: access to your local channels can be problematic (i.e., disallowed) with all streaming providers when traveling outside your billing area.
    The DirecTV Now UI is basic but functional.  I've tried Hulu, Playstation Vue, and Youtube Red and their UIs are awful.
    edited April 2018
  • Reply 12 of 18
    They must be losing subscribers at a spectacular pace to stoop this low. On the other hand, competition is always good.
    yes, but I think the reason is the snail slow AT&T fiber deployment, and the gawdawful uVerse... They would rather saturate their LTE backhaul shorterm,  than lose customers to Verizon FIOS.   Plus the 'free' option will likely drive people to unlimited Premium which is $50/month


    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 13 of 18
    airnerdairnerd Posts: 606member
    No sports means this is useless.  no one cuts the chord, at least that I know personally, and then goes back for anything but the sports.  It's why I went back.  Sounds like I'll get this for free as an AT&T wireless Customer.  The free HBO Go is worth more to me than these channels without sports.
  • Reply 14 of 18
    FolioFolio Posts: 422member
    I switched from t mobile to att three weeks ago. Premium wireless plan was only slightly more and got me direct tv now for $20/month and free HBO for life. So far very pleased. Sufficient commercial free stations. And CNBC and Bloomberg you can surf. ATT figures can better monetize ads in future. Also got year free of Readly (a rival to texture app that Apple just acquired). I tell ya, I look at magazines in a new light on 12” iPad Pro. Very pleasurable, and they aren’t even tapping potential automation yet.
  • Reply 15 of 18
    davendaven Posts: 477member
    The only channel I miss from cable is Turner Classic Movies. I get local channels over the air but stormy weather can knock out a lot of channels. A $15 package with TCM and maybe four other channels would suit me just fine especially if you can pick your channels.
  • Reply 16 of 18
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 207member
    lkrupp said:
    In my personal experience cord cutting is difficult because of the local channel issues. I have an amplified attic antenna but reception is squirrelly at times and we don’t get our local PBS station at all. My line of site to the direction of the broadcast antennas includes my town’s massive steel water tower. As far as I know none of the streaming bundles out there include local channels. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am an AT&T wireless subscriber so the free bundle is welcome news.
    PBS seems to be an issue all around. We’re in a non-PBS area in north east Texas so the nearest antenna is about 100 miles from our house. Fringe reception at best. 
  • Reply 17 of 18
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 207member

    lkrupp said:
    In my personal experience cord cutting is difficult because of the local channel issues. I have an amplified attic antenna but reception is squirrelly at times and we don’t get our local PBS station at all. My line of site to the direction of the broadcast antennas includes my town’s massive steel water tower. As far as I know none of the streaming bundles out there include local channels. Please correct me if I’m wrong. I am an AT&T wireless subscriber so the free bundle is welcome news.
    Local channel issues are an artificial constraint perpetrated by 20th century mores. Streaming gets you the globe. 
  • Reply 18 of 18
    kruegdudekruegdude Posts: 207member
    airnerd said:
    No sports means this is useless.  no one cuts the chord, at least that I know personally, and then goes back for anything but the sports.  It's why I went back.  Sounds like I'll get this for free as an AT&T wireless Customer.  The free HBO Go is worth more to me than these channels without sports.
    Then there is those of us who couldn’t care less about sports. 
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