AT&T is trying to woo more customers to its DirecTV Now streaming platform with a sweetener: a free year of HBO.
Normally offered as an add-on, HBO will be offered to new customers who sign up for the top two plan tiers, “Go Big” for $60 per month and “Gotta Have It” for $70 per month. The company said its offer of a free Apple TV for customers who sign up for three months of prepaid service also still stands. Both offers expire on March 30.
Brad Bentley, executive vice president of marketing for AT&T Entertainment Group, commented the carrier is “reminding consumers that DirecTV Now is the best choice for premium content” with the offers.
AT&T is also throwing in a bundle incentive for customers on its new Unlimited Plus wireless plan. When they sign up for any AT&T video service, AT&T said it will give unlimited customers a $25 monthly video credit.
But as with any promotional offer, this likely isn’t a dangled donut for sweetness’ sake. There’s a multi-pronged battle going on here.
First, AT&T’s DirecTV Now roll out came with plenty of snags – nearly two months after launch, customers in January were still reporting a slew of outages, errors, and log-on problems. These were pretty widely publicized and could have scared away some potential customers who either decided to wait out the issues or that it wasn’t worth the trouble at all.
Additionally, AT&T could be looking to snag some higher-tier customers to pull in more revenue for the service, which has a competitively priced $35 base plan with just about every channel the average consumer needs.
AT&T isn’t just battling with itself though. The carrier is also likely trying to fend off an assault from the competition.
In December, T-Mobile cheekily decided to offer its customers a free year of DirecTV Now, before switching to offer a free year of Hulu once the former’s troubles became apparent. Sprint has partnered with Sling TV to offer a bundle discount to its own customers. And Verizon also stepped up its video game by zero rating its Fios TV app for its wireless customers.
All of this, of course, comes in the context of an escalating unlimited battle that now involves all four U.S. wireless carriers. With customers able to get enough data to watch just about whatever they can find on the internet, the key will be tapping into the right exclusive content they can’t find anywhere else. And with massively popular series like “Game of Thrones,” “Veep,” and “Big Little Lies” on HBO’s roster, it seems like that’s what AT&T is going for here.