AT&T Readies Another OTT Offering

As-yet unnamed service would stream WarnerMedia, third-party content
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AT&T is gearing up to launch another over the top video service, this one streaming content from its recently purchased WarnerMedia library, to debut on the fourth quarter next year.

The OTT service would join DirecTV Now, AT&T Watch and HBO Now as the fourth prong in its direct to consumer arsenal. No pricing or other details are available for the product.

AT&T revealed its intention to launch the OTT product in an SEC filing Wednesday. Later in the day, WarnerMedia chief John Stankey officially announced the OTT product at the Vanity Fair New Establishment Summit in Los Angeles.  

Ever since winning approval for its purchase of Time Warner earlier this year -- which the U.S. Dept. of Justice is appealing -- AT&T has been driving the concept of audience engagement hard. Stankey has said in the past that he isn't so much concerned with scale and content, but wants content that scales.    

In the filing AT&T said the new offering “will serve as a complement to our existing businesses and help us to expand our reach by offering a new choice for entertainment with the WarnerMedia collection of films, television series, libraries, documentaries and animation loved by consumers around the world."

The service would be funded by a combination of "incremental efficiencies within the WarnerMedia operations, consolidating resources from sub-scale D2C [direct-to-consumer] efforts, fallow library content, and technology reuse,” AT&T continued.

The new offering would join a crowded field currently dominated by Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu. But DirecTV has distribution muscle via its 25 million DirecTV and U-verse customers and more than 1.8 million DirecTV Now subscribers. And next year, Disney plans to unveil a direct-to-consumer entertainment product bolstered by its recent purchase of 21st Century Fox programming assets.  

Stankey wouldn't reveal pricing, but he did say it would likely be costlier than HBO, according to reports. HBO content will be part of the service and there will be  a combination of Warnre Media and third-party content surrounding it. And despite the comparisons, he stressed that AT&T does not intend to replicate Netflix.

“Our job isn’t to build another Netflix. Our job is to build a compelling offer of content,” he said, according to Vanity Fair.

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