AT&T is promising its users a notably-revamped version of its DirecTV Now streaming video platform sometime in the early part of next year. Speaking on the company's recent earnings call, AT&T CFO John Stephens said that whenever the new version of the streaming service launches, users can expect a revamped interface, greater support for on demand and pay-per-view content, as well as broader support for multiple viewing streams at once.
That said, there were some vague hints that the improvements may come alongside a price hike for the company's streaming service.
"With all those opportunities go additional opportunities to raise revenues, and revenues that customers would be willing to pay for and improve the quality of the service,” the CFO said.
Wells Fargo had a little more detail on AT&T's planned changes in a research note to investors spotted by Fierce Wireless.
“DTV Now 2.0 is coming,” the Wells Fargo analysts wrote. “Importantly, this will streamline the User Interface (UI) for the customer (T currently has different UIs for DTV, DTV Now, U-verse and Sunday Ticket). This upgrade will also likely bring with it some additional functionality (i.e. Cloud DVR, additional streams, etc.). Timing is expected in Q1'18 (when we expect T will also own a lot more content and have some anchor tenants to build around DTV Now...yes even with today’s headlines).”
While AT&T has been more courageous than many of its competitors by actually embracing streaming video (instead of, say, doubling proces
or paying empty lip service to value), things still haven't gone quite as the telco would have hoped. AT&T and DirecTV continue to lose huge swaths of customers to cable competitors, in part thanks to AT&T's failure to upgrade huge swaths of its network to next-generation fixed-line broadband speeds. While DirecTV Now improvements could aid this equation, any significant price hikes aren't likely to.