DirecTV Gently Cuts Back On Channels, Asks Viewers For Input

In somewhat of an unusual movie, aging traditional satellite service DirecTV is cutting back on channels that viewers apparently aren’t watching much, such as the History Channel, A+E Networks, Vice and Lifetime Movies.

I say "apparently" because there is still an option for consumers.

Some DirecTV customers were notified in October that History Channel, A&E Network, Vice and Lifetime Movies would be removed on Dec. 8 unless they visited the opt-in page and asked to keep them on their grids.

This seems to be a somewhat gentler approach than merely ripping away a channel that some subscribers rely on for entertainment.

But, of course, the bigger question is: Will DirecTV be lowering its price? DirecTV spokespeople didn’t respond to inquiries by TV Watch.

A message from DirecTV on its forum site reads: “Some customers with low-to-no viewership of the A&E channels (A&E, Vice, History, Lifetime) will have it removed from their Select or Entertainment DirecTV base package.”



“This is because we regularly make changes to plans and pricing across our video products. The A&E channels will be removed to impacted accounts or if opted in, they will be kept at no additional charge.”

For years, consumers have voiced concerns that legacy pay TV's 200 to 300 channels weren’t necessary — at best, they were watching eight to 12 channels regularly or occasionally.

And, yes, they wanted a lower price on all service. In the pre-streaming world with way less individual on-demand programs -- cries for “a la carte” programming was all the rage.

But that wasn’t really about selecting individual programs. It was about networks -- which streaming, largely, gives us today.

We know the trend line here for traditional pay TV providers; it's a sinking business. It is common for a cable, satellite, or telco pay TV provider to lose 3% to 5% in subscribers per year.

So we wonder whether this is the real cost-savings mode that all providers are seeking. That’s because the real savings many want are for high-priced national and regional sports networks.

New virtual pay TV services -- YouTube TV, Hulu+Live TV, etc. --  are not considering carrying regional sports networks.

Even ESPN, the most expensive sports network for pay TV providers to carry, could have some problems in the future, according to analysts. Thus, the push for sports networks to quickly enter the premium streaming world.

All this comes as TV network blackouts from pay TV distributors dull our senses. Maybe that’s why struggling pay TV companies let consumers decide what is really important in their TV usage life.

1 comment about "DirecTV Gently Cuts Back On Channels, Asks Viewers For Input".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 16, 2021 at 9:39 a.m.

    Wayne, isn't this a fairly clever way to nudge subscribers who aren't watching certain channels to do so?

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