Another low-cost virtual pay TV service of linear TV networks is disappearing: AT&T TV Now, formerly DirecTV Now.
AT&T is merging AT&T TV Now into AT&T TV, the company’s more traditional-looking pay TV streaming service.
The main differences between the two businesses are with price and contract commitments. With AT&T TV Now, no contract is needed; for AT&T TV, consumers had to commit to a two-year contract.
The lowest price for AT&T TV Now, launched in 2016, was $35 a month for 65 channels. Price hikes brought those packages to $55 for its cheapest bundled TV package. The lowest-priced AT&T TV is $69.99 for 65 channels.
Now, the revamped AT&T TV will have no contract commitments as well, or require people to own the AT&T TV hardware.
Since its launch AT&T TV Now grew -- and then dramatically fell in the number of subscribers -- rising to just under 2 million customers in the third quarter of 2018 and then sinking to less than 700,000 in September 2020.
The biggest virtual pay TV providers are: Hulu + Live TV, 4.1 million subscribers; YouTube TV, 3.0 million; and Dish’s Sling TV has 2.46 million subscribers.
Many analysts now believe a number of virtual pay TV providers, operating on razor-thin profit margins, could have future financial issues, due to rising carriage fee/programming costs, similar to what traditional pay TV services -- cable, satellite, and telco companies -- are experiencing.