The dust has settled on AT&T’s move to improve the economics of its two-year-old virtual pay TV platform, DirecTV Now.
It had already been reported that Viacom, Discovery and AMC all took hits on Wall Street after getting kicked out of the DirecTV Now bundle. But with AT&T now marketing its two new DirecTV Now packages, we have a more comprehensive view of what channels aren't coming back.
The virtual MVPD is now offering 47 individual networks in its base tier, which it now calls “Plus.” The bundle includes three iterations of HBO, starting at $50 a month.
DirecTV Now’s previous base-tier configuration, which it called “Live a Little,” included more than 60 channels (but no HBO) for $45 a month.
Gone from that configuration are every Viacom network—BET, Comedy Central, CMT, MTV, MTV 2, Nickelodeon, Nick at Nite, TeenNick and TV Land.
AT&T and Viacom ended a brief carriage renewal impasse earlier this week.
Responding to an MCN email this morning regarding the possibility of the Viacom channels returning to DirecTV Now, AT&T re-issued this statement: "We are pleased to announce a renewed Viacom-AT&T contract that includes continued carriage of Viacom services across multiple AT&T platforms and products. The deal also brings AT&T customers more choice and improved value for Viacom content. We expect to announce additional details in the near future."
Notably, Bernstein analyst Todd Juenger said, “We are highly confident Viacom did not gain additional carriage through the new deal, including the carriage on DirecTV Now that it recently lost, as the the company would certainly have announced such carriage together with the guidance reaffirmation had that happened.”
AT&T is now marketing its two reconfigured DirecTV Now tiers, consolidating what had been four options for customers. (The higher end “Max” tier goes for $70 a month and includes BTN, CBS Sports Network, ESPNews, Fox Sports 2 and several other networks not included in Plus.)
Other prominent networks that are no longer part of the DirecTV Now bundle include A&E, AMC, Animal Planet, BBC America, C-SPAN, History Channel, Food Network, TLC, HGTV and Lifetime.
Discovery and Investigation Discovery are also gone, as are AXS TV, Baby First, Bloomberg TV, Galavision, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, One American TV, Paramount Network, Reelz, RFD-TV and WE.tv.
AT&T announced in December that it would “thin out” the DirecTV Now bundle and up the product’s price to improve profitability.
For its part, rival vMPVD Sling TV is trying to make marketing hay out of DirecTV's rollback. In a press release Wednesday announcing the move of Paramount Network and E! into the Sling "Blue" tier, the Dish-owned company said, "While other streaming providers are removing quality programming and raising prices, we've added two popular entertainment channels to Sling Blue without inflating costs for our customers."
Here's our tally of the channels that were squeezed out of DirecTV Now:
Hallmark Movies & Mysteries
Nick at Nite
One American News