AT&T's streaming service DIRECTV NOW gained 200,000 subscribers by the end of December, the company revealed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Friday. The Dallas-based telecom giant noted that its December net video adds only include paying customers, meaning that the filing doesn't account for people who have started a week-long DIRECTV NOW trial in the last six days of December. AT&T launched DIRECTV NOW on November 30 and its latest SEC report suggests that this streaming service is off to a strong start.
The initial success of DIRECTV NOW can partially be attributed to the fact that the Internet TV market in the United States is still far from being saturated and only features a few major players like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. Furthermore, AT&T incentivized cord cutters to switch to its service by offering more than 100 channels for $35 a month. This likely attracted many early bird subscribers as the same package does now require a $70 monthly fee. DIRECTV NOW also boasts a broad range of programming which may be missing some pieces but still features most major sports and entertainment channels. AT&T's existing customers had an additional reason to subscribe to the service as the second largest carrier in the U.S. is zero-rating all streams on its network. Finally, AT&T was giving away Fire TV sticks and Apple TVs to paying customers, all of which contributed to DIRECTV NOW enjoying a strong start in the market.
Regardless, the launch of the service did not go seamlessly as numerous customers were and still are experiencing technical issues with DIRECTV NOW. The Dallas-based company said that some problems are to be expected, but that didn't stop consumers from voicing their displeasure online, especially after it came to light that AT&T has no refund policy in place. In spite of all these difficulties, the telecom giant said how DIRECTV NOW is enjoying an overwhelmingly positive response from consumers and promised to improve the service as soon as possible. The launch of DIRECTV NOW is AT&T's latest attempt to diversify its revenue stream as its core business is facing market saturation.