Late last week AT&T’s CEO of Communications announced that DIRECTV NOW would likely be merged into WarnerMedia’s new streaming service. This has raised many concerns from DIRECTV NOW subscribers about what this means for them.
Here Is What We Know
According to AT&T’s CEO of Communications, AT&T plans to EVENTUALLY merge DIRECTV NOW into the new WarnerMedia streaming service. The key word here is “eventually.” It sounds like AT&T plans to do this after the launch of WarnerMedia’s Netflix-like service later this year.
According to AT&T, this will allow you to have a single app to watch on-demand content from HBO, Cinemax, and WarnerMedia right next to your live TV channels like ESPN.
What does this mean for DIRECTV NOW customers?
In the short-term nothing. From the way “eventually” was prominently included in AT&T’s plans to merge DIRECTV NOW into WarnerMedia’s new streaming service it sounds like it won’t happen at launch. So, for today, if you use DIRECTV NOW you should expect your subscription and app to continue. With that said I would not expect to see AT&T put a lot of effort to bring new features to DIRECTV NOW. For now, it seems that all of AT&T’s efforts are going into the new WarnerMedia service.
What will this likely mean once the merger happens?
AT&T’s new WarnerMedia service will include HBO and Cinemax plus original content along with a back catalog of WarnerMedia content. The price for this new service will reportedly cost between $16 and $17 a month. Now that price is for the on-demand service, which does not include DIRECTV NOW’s live TV streaming service. When live TV is added, it will likely be an add-on at a higher cost.
From what we can tell it sounds like AT&T wants to copy Hulu by offering an on-demand only package and an add-on with live TV. When that happens and DIRECTV NOW is merged into WarnerMedia’s new streaming service this likely means the end of DIRECTV NOW.
Later this year AT&T is launching a streaming-only live TV service under the DIRECTV name, but it sounds like AT&T plans to do away with the DIRECTV NOW name.
This merger also likely means the end of the DIRECTV NOW app. You will need to move over to the new WarnerMedia app.
Why is AT&T likely to kill DIRECTV NOW’s name?
AT&T likely does not want to confuse its new “thin” DIRECTV streaming service with DIRECTV NOW. Having two streaming services with DIRECTV in the name would be confusing. Merging DIRECTV NOW into the WarnerMedia brand would remove that confusion.
Will you get to keep your current package? What about a price hike?
Sadly, we just don’t know what this means for DIRECTV NOW subscribers when it comes to their package and price. It is very possible that a price hike will happen as you will now get even more content. It is also possible that this could mean a change to your current DIRECTV NOW package.
I would encourage people to consider this as the end of DIRECTV NOW and the launch of something new. From what we are hearing this should be the expectation going forward.
This is all that we know at this time. What we can say is it will likely not happen this year because WarnerMedia’s new service won’t launch until the fall or winter of 2019 and DIRECTV NOW’s merger won’t likely happen this year.
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