A Recap of the Recent Brand Changes to DIRECTV
Chances are you’ve seen the new commercials or heard about AT&T selling a minority stake in DIRECTV — either way, after a few years of relative obscurity under AT&T, DIRECTV and its iconic brand are making a comeback. Things will remain in flux until there’s an eventual majority buyer but for now let’s quickly recap the recent changes to DIRECTV and make some educated guesses on where it goes from here…
AT&T TV becomes DIRECTV Stream
After AT&T sold a 30% interest in DIRECTV to private equity firm TPG, DIRECTV’s brand was primed for a reboot. The first step was to rebrand all the AT&T streaming services (AT&T TV and AT&T Now) to DIRECTV Stream. Good move as it removed the confusion of the multiple AT&T services. Moving forward, DIRECTV Stream will be the home of all their streaming services. Logos, brands and apps were updated in August 2021 while no other changes to plans or pricing are expected anytime soon. So, current customers really saw no difference other than the branding changes.
The satellite portion of DIRECTV is still alive and well and won’t be going anywhere. With a new executive board, expect that portion of the business to continue to regain its former glory along with a revival in its receiver/Genie technology (while the receivers are still top-in-class, development had slowed down in recent years).
The new DIRECTV company doesn’t include HBO
As part of the deal with AT&T, TPG and the Warnermedia division (which AT&T also owns), the new DIRECTV will not include any of HBO’s assets. Instead, AT&T will be merging HBO Max with Discovery in mid 2022. For those already subscribing to ATT/DIRECTV, nothing will change with regard to access to HBO. Once the Discovery merger takes place, AT&T has stated that DIRECTV will “continue to offer HBO Max to subscribers along with any bundled wireless or broadband services and associated customer discounts.” So, whether you’re paying extra for HBO or have it bundled free, that shouldn’t change anytime soon.
NFL Sunday Ticket is moving over
DIRECTV has the rights to the NFL Sunday Ticket thru the 2022-2023 season. All DIRECTV and Sunday Ticket subscribers will continue to watch games unchanged until at least then. DIRECTV Stream customers are in a bit more unknown situation. They currently don’t have access to the Ticket (that’s been the case for all the AT&T streaming services but with all the upcoming changes, subscribing to the Sunday Ticket may be an option soon).
Where DIRECTV goes from here
First off, for old school DIRECTV fans (like us), it’s great to see them back in the limelight. Cord-cutting is a solid solution for a lot folks so it’s good to see a full-fledged streaming service under the DIRECTV brand (we’ve used the AT&T/DIRECTV streaming for months and generally like it). The satellite TV portion of the company, while it’s lost a good chunk of subscribers the last few years to streaming, is beginning to stabilize. There’s still plenty of demand for the service and the long-term rumor is that AT&T/TPG will eventually sell a majority stake to DISH. The synergy of the two satellite brands could be a real positive game-changer for all involved, corporate and customers alike.
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