One of AT&T’s primary goals with DIRECTV NOW going forward is to expand the service to include more “flavors.” This is based on a new report out of Telecompetitor which credits the information to recent comments given by AT&T’s CEO of Communications, John Donovan, during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference, held in San Francisco.
Based on those comments it seems AT&T plans to go down a similar route with DIRECTV NOW as it currently has with its mobile services. That is, it sees DIRECTV NOW in need of becoming available in significantly more ways with prices and content suited to different types of consumers. DIRECTV NOW “is not there yet,” according to Donovan, with the added suggestion it may take some time while background issues are brought in line, such as ensuring all of its customers have adequate bandwidth to take advantage of OTT services. In either case, the comments did come as part of a much larger narrative which suggested AT&T is fully committed to migrating all of its TV customers over to an over-the-top (OTT) solution in due course. A move which will not only benefit customers through greater choice and ease of use, but also AT&T by reducing the costs involved with getting such services in to more homes.
Speaking of the benefits to AT&T, the report also does pick up on one of the monetizing strategies the company hopes to improve on with DIRECTV NOW, ads. While these are already present in DIRECTV NOW, it seems AT&T does plan on ensuring it is able to leverage the newer technology to make better use of viewer-targeted ads in the future. This is an aspect which has faced hurdles in the past, however, as it remains unclear whether streaming service customers are happy to receive targeted ads over generic ads - due to the use of TV habit tracking as a means of collecting the data necessary to facilitate ads aimed specifically at individual users. There was no mention of how AT&T hopes to offset against these concerns in the comments noted, with Donovan simply explaining targeted ads are part of the company's forward-thinking OTT plans, specifically, AT&T hopes to “breathe life back into linear advertising.”