AT&T has reached an agreement with CBS Corporation to feature all of its broadcast networks on its DIRECTV NOW mobile TV service. Not only will all CBS Corporation network channels be available for live viewing, but a good portion of the content from those networks will be available to stream on-demand. The agreement will see channels and content rolled out gradually, starting with local CBS channels from large metro areas. CBS' press release on the matter did not specify exactly when the rollout will begin or when it should be complete, and neither did AT&T's press release on its website.
The full list of CBS channels will be available, including offshoots like The CW and Pop. Subscribers will have access to all of the hit shows available on those channels, such as The Big Bang Theory, NCIS, and The Flash. Sports programming, including NFL coverage, will also be available without any additional payment or licensing. A live sports channel will be available, and some games will be viewable on-demand or capable of being streamed simultaneously with their cable broadcasts. This applies to major annual events as well, such as the Super Bowl and the GRAMMYs. One thing that will require additional payment, however, is SHOWTIME. Customers can order Showtime as a premium add-on to their DIRECTV NOW plan, and will be able to watch any movie featured on SHOWTIME on-demand from any device that can run the DIRECTV NOW app. Unlike local channels like The CW, all subscribers who tune in to Showtime's live feed will be tuning into Showtime East.
Netting CBS programming is a major milestone for DIRECTV NOW, AT&T's answer to Verizon's GO90 service. While GO90 will focus mostly on internet programming from entities like Verizon-owned AOL and Yahoo, DIRECTV NOW seeks to leverage AT&T's position as a major TV provider in order to net premium programming and offer a mostly full-service alternative for the cord-cutter crowd. This stands in stark contrast to media exploits from entities like YouTube and Facebook, who are pursuing contracts to have original shows made, or making original shows themselves by tapping talent that's already on the network.