Today’s announcement of the milestone follows several mentions it was approaching the mark by AT&T chief Randall Stephenson and other execs, who have noted the OTT rollout as proof of the company’s wherewithal and good intentions. The U.S. Department of Justice has filed suit to block the company’s pending $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, saying its ownership of satellite giant DirecTV would enable it to unfairly favor Time Warner content and also gouge consumers. But DirecTV Now service starts at a modest $35 a month, with no contract or credit check, and includes deeply discounted HBO, Stephenson has noted.
“This milestone is an incredible testament to the thousands of hours many people spent working to bring this product online and continually improving it during the past year,” said David Christopher, president, AT&T Entertainment Group.
AT&T plans to add new features soon, including cloud-based DVR service, 4K video, and boosted capacity for On Demand titles, from 25,000 to more than 35,000.
DirecTV Now competes against several other virtual MVPDs, including Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, Hulu Live and YouTube TV. The rise of skinny bundles, including slimmed-down offerings from traditional cable operators, has somewhat compensated for video subscriber losses as cord-cutting accelerates. The economics are distinctly different from the traditional bundled experience, which requires long-term contracts and more physical equipment.