With respect to TV subscriptions, viewers have the option to cut the cord with their cable companies and to avoid placing satellite dishes on their roofs DirecTV now was one of the best options available. They have come up with a variety of packages with an impressive range of channels even when they have increased the prices of all their $ 5 subscription options last summer. But it seems that rising prices were not enough, as AT & T dramatically changed its DirecTV Now plans by charging more for fewer channels. In general, DirecTV Now has suddenly gotten worse.
Prices for new DirecTV subscriptions
Previously, four packages were available at DirecTV Now: $ 35, $ 50, $ 60 and $ 70. All of these packages went up by $ 5 each last summer, but it was still a good deal. Now, The Verge points out that AT & T has officially reorganized its DirecTV Now service to offer only two packages. The $ 50 Plus package, which will include HBO, and the $ 70 Max package, including HBO and Cinemax.
You may think that adding HBO and Cinemax in these offers should largely offset the price increase. But take a closer look at these channel alignments. It lacks more than a dozen popular channels, including AMC, BET, Comedy Central, Discovery, History, MTV, Nickelodeon, TLC, VH1, and more. All of these were part of DirecTV Now's previous packages. Many of these channels are also Viacom channels. It therefore seems that keeping these channels was more expensive for the supplier. It could change, but right now it certainly makes the service less valuable.
What happens with old subscriptions?
The good news is that if you're already subscribed to one of DirecTV Now's old subscription plans, you'll be able to keep your current channel groups. The bad news is that these prices will also be increased. Monthly rates for old channel packages will increase by $ 10 each April 12, 2019. In addition, if you are currently paying $ 5 more for HBO, the premium channel will now cost $ 15, starting with this month's bill. For those who follow, this represents $ 20 new fees for former clients. It's kind of crap, especially after AT & T claimed that their acquisition of Time Warner last year would reduce prices for consumers.
So it's no surprise that DirecTV Now focuses on WarnerMedia's own networks, not to mention the Fox and Comcast / NBCUniversal channels. But that means the service has gone from 125 channels in their largest bouquet to less than 50 channels. Admittedly, many of them were useless, like Golf Channel or Lifetime, but it's still a drastic reduction.
Why are prices high?
The simple answer is that DirecTV Now, in its previous form, was not viable if AT & T wanted to generate profits. As the CEO, Randall Stephenson recently told investors:
"It's a year of learning the demands of the market. As the project matured, we looked at the low-end customer segment using promotional prices, which did not occur in the product. We told you that in November, there were 500,000 people on the promotional price, and we started allowing these customers to withdraw. We now have an increasingly active customer base on streaming. In fact, we like to know where we are with the streaming product. "
Stephenson talks about subscribers who have signed up with cheaper subscriptions as part of a promotion. Now, AT & T is ready to let these customers go for higher prices with their customers more loyal and more active. This is for customers who are willing to stick to the service, but that's what happens when you trust companies to do something that benefits the customer more than their bottom line.
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