While giving testimony as part of AT&T’s ongoing lawsuit against the Department of Justice yesterday, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson let slip that the network will be throwing a bone to cord-cutters in the form of a new streaming service. Called AT&T Watch, it will cost $15 per month, and reportedly contain most of the same channels as the $35-per-month DirecTV Now, with one big catch: No sports.
AT&T did not return a request for details confirming the new service, but going off what Stephenson said in court, we can make an educated guess at what the new service will look like.
Sports are the most expensive part of any cable package, so it’s no surprise that cutting the channels out will save a bunch of money. The cost is expected to be sufficiently low that AT&T will offer the service to AT&T wireless subscribers for free, according to a Wells Fargo analyst note seen by Fierce Wireless. “While AT&T has offered discounts for DTV Now to wireless user – the content package it offers (with the exception of HBO) not been free to T subscribers. If successful, we believe this could put more pressure on the other three wireless carriers (TMUS, S, TMUS) to act in a more formal way in the content space,” Wells Fargo analyst Jennifer Fritzsche wrote in her research note.
AT&T wouldn’t be the first company to offer a no-sports skinny streaming bundle. Philo is a skinny package that launched last year, and just made its way onto the Apple TV. Starting at $16, the subscription features 37 channels, including AMC, Animal Planet, Food Network, HGTV, MTV, Nick and TLC. There is also a 46 channel package for just $4 a month more. You can watch on up to three devices at once and there are no contracts, so you can cancel at any time. Sling, the live-streaming service with the most subscribers, has plans that start at $20, although that does include ESPN.
Streaming TV is set to be the next big point of competition for wireless networks. AT&T already aggressively pushes DirecTV Now discounts on its wireless subscribers, Sprint offers Hulu, and T-Mobile offers free Netflix. In addition, T-Mobile acquired TV provider Layer3 last year, with plans to launch its own streaming service sometime this year.