AT&T’s rollout of its DirecTV Now mobile video streaming platform was notoriously plagued by problems, so much so that wireless rival T-Mobile was able to launch a switcher campaign around it. The platform suffered for it – a report from Bloomberg last month indicated the carrier struggled to hold on to DirecTV Now users in February after its initial subscriber boom, and only stabilized its figures in March.
But the bad times may finally be in the rearview according to Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche.
Following a meeting with investors and AT&T Entertainment Group execs, Fritzsche reported AT&T feels it is finally “over the hump” in terms of fixing the platform’s issues. The carrier remains committed to providing consumers with a “rules free” video experience, she said, and is expected to launch a new platform this year that will include an even better user interface.
Though AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson noted at an investor conference last month that the initial launch of DirecTV Now wasn’t supported by much advertising – “The thing just caught fire” on its own, he said – Fritzsche noted AT&T is expected to shift to an aggressive marketing strategy now that the issues are fixed. This will help pull more subscribers into the AT&T ecosystem who can then be upsold into more services.
“While the OTT video space is indeed competitive, a key differentiator for DTV Now is the ability to integrate with wireless and/or broadband with the added benefit of a bundled discount a customer gets by combining products,” Fritzsche wrote. “This should improve the overall retention of these customers to AT&T services.”
Fritzsche said the DirecTV Now advertising blitz is expected to ramp up soon, pointing out that the carrier ran its first national TV ad for the service at the start of this month.