Throughout the AT&T-Time Warner antitrust trial, over-the-top streaming video was a regular topic of discussion. Would AT&T try to cripple competitors like Netflix? Or would it use it try to bolster its own OTT offerings to better compete?
Now that the deal has closed (just two days after the federal judge found in AT&T’s favor), AT&T’s OTT vision is becoming a bit clearer. This week, the company is expected to launch a new streaming video product called “AT&T Watch TV.”
Details of the service remain somewhat scarce, but AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson pulled back the curtain somewhat on CNBC Friday.
"It will be the Turner content. It will not have sports. It will be entertainment-centered,” he said. In other words, look for TBS and TNT dramas and comedies, perhaps on-demand, and without the NBA and MLB games that populate the channels.
Perhaps more notable was this detail: AT&T Watch will be free for AT&T unlimited data subscribers, and available to everyone else (whether AT&T subs or not) for $15 per month.
It will be ad-supported, with AT&T ramping up an ad platform for the service in the coming weeks and months.
AT&T Watch TV is part of a broader effort by AT&T to turn its subscription services into a one-stop shop for consumers: get all your entertainment and your mobile data in one place.
AT&T already offers streaming HBO for free to certain unlimited plan subscribers. The new offering would simply add more channels to that mix.
So far, AT&T’s offerings are not coming at the expense of other consumers. If AT&T Watch is available to anyone, including Verizon customers, and HBO Now is available to everyone, then AT&T is simply making the argument that by bundling the video packages into its unlimited data plans, it is producing a stronger offering on the merits.
Whether AT&T’s OTT offerings change the data-driven video ad marketplace is, of course, a totally different question. We will just have to ‘Watch’ and see.