AT&T CFO: $15/Month Streaming Service Depends On Time Warner

AT&T’s $15 per month streaming service will likely depend on AT&T being able to close out the purchase of Time Warner, according to the company’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO), John Stephens. The comments were made yesterday as part of the CFO’s planned attendance at the Cowen Technology, Media and Telecom Conference. Besides the suggestion one highly depends on the other, there was no further information provided on this.

Stephens did, however, provide slightly more insight as to what potential customers can expect from the so-called “skinny” deal, stating it would see “a small number” of channels bundled with Turner-related channels. Suggesting that although this will be a low-priced alternative compared to the company’s DIRECTV NOW options, it is priced to match the quality of the product offered with Stephens likening it to a "small product" in general. This is not actually the first time this $15 per month streaming service has been hinted at, as the company's CEO, Randall Stephenson, was the first to provide details on the service, including suggesting it might arrive labelled as “AT&T Watch.” The possible name further lends support to the notion this will arrive, and be branded as, a different product to DIRECTV NOW, and not just a more affordable tiered DIRECTV NOW option. In addition, one of the ways AT&T seems likely to drive down the cost to the suggested entry-point is by offering the service without access to sports, according to Stephenson’s previous comments.

What is also of note, however, is Stephenson’s comments also came in relation to the Time Warner deal as it was during testimony provided at a recent trial brought forward by the Department of Justice to take a closer look at the Time Warner acquisition. Therefore, this now almost seems to be the company line taken by AT&T with two of its most prominent members having publicly declared it can offer a reduced-cost service to consumers if the deal to acquire Time Warner is approved. Whether that line changes or not after a decision has been made remains to be seen, although with a ruling expected within the next few weeks, firmer answers on whether AT&T will offer a new skinny bundle will likely come through sooner rather than later.

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