Something for everybody pretty much describes AT&T's launch on Nov. 30 of its three new streaming services: DIRECTV NOW, FreeVIEW and Fullscreen. It's a way to both remove pain points for consumers--such as credit checks or the inability to access traditional cable service--and offer advertisers more VOD-first options, according to the EVP & CMO of AT&T Entertainment & Internet Services.
In an interview with Beet.TV, Brad Bentley says the company's research shows that a number of consumers cannot get a TV plan that requires a credit check or a two year commitment, or can't get cable installed in their dwelling.
"We knew going over the top and offering a customer an option that was more app-based, more software driven, was going to lower our costs and be able to serve an audience that we weren't reaching today," Bentley says.
He frames the proposition as, "How do we bring that premium television experience that had been traditionally locked in the living room and bring it to more people and more places."
By signing up for DIRECTV NOW or Fullscreen, content can be streamed over U.S. Internet connections on any device with a set-top box, satellite dish, annual contract or credit check. DIRECTV NOW programming packages are: Live a Little ($35 monthly for 60+ channels); Just Right ($50 monthly for 80+ channels; Go Big ($60 monthly for 100+ channels); and Gotta Have it ($70 monthly for 120+ channels).
"We'll offer consumers some choice in terms of packaging, but we have intentionally gone after some of that premium content that exists today in pay TV but just remove some of the hurdles," Bentley says.
AT&T's FreeVIEW offering lets anyone enjoy ad-supported video content free of charge from AUDIENCE Network, Otter Media properties and other channels on DIRECTV NOW.
For advertisers, the new services offer new formats so that they're "not stuck in a traditional pod of 14 or 16 minutes of commercials in a one-hour slot," Bentley explains. "It's a VOD-first world where you can place ads within the curation."
The platform supporting the new services also will facilitate "a better, smarter way to do ads around binge viewing than what exists today in terms of less ad load but more relevant ads," says Bentley.
AT&T will continue to provide DIRECTV's premium satellite TV entertainment service.
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