Is AT&T “Going to War” with Sling TV?

AT&T is working to push its DIRECTV NOW streaming service past Sling TV. That’s the rumor, anyway… and it’s believable. Right now, Sling TV leads the streaming service providers in terms of subscriber numbers. If DIRECTV NOW wants to be No. 1, it has to surpass Sling. Rumor has it that AT&T is pushing hard and spending big bucks in order to be the top streaming service provider.

Sling TV had about 2.3 million subscribers in 2017, according to a recent streaming services report. This means that Sling TV has captured more than 43 percent of the streaming services market. DIRECTV NOW comes in second place, with approximately 1.2 million subscribers, or 19 percent of the market. The subscriber numbers for the other streaming service providers drop off from there. (For example, Playstation Vue comes in third place with less than 1 million subscribers and a mere 11 percent of the market.)

It’s been reported that AT&T recently launched a major offensive in its war to wear the streaming services crown. AT&T rolled out some deals to grow its subscriber base. Offers for Apple TV, Fire TV, and Roku were announced, as were discounts on the streaming service’s monthly subscription rate. Industry rumors says these efforts have helped bring about a small spike in DIRECTV NOW subscribers.

Here are some things that AT&T will likely do to further increase DIRECTV NOW’s market position:

1. Perfect and release its DVR app to the public at large.
2. Continue to acquire local TV affiliates.
3. Roll out the these DIRECTV NOW updates currently being beta tested:

  • A new video player and several other features for tvOS viewers.
  • Improved video startup times and end-card functionality for Fire TV.
  • Chromecast device support for iOS users.
  • Improved video startup times, Chromecast device support, and end-card functionality for restart content for Android users.
  • Chromecast device support and cDVR end-card functionality for Web (Chrome).

The “streaming war” is ongoing, and it involves all of the service providers vying for that top slot. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out. We’ll keep you updated on all the latest developments, of course. At the end of the year, we’ll wrap it all up with our Year in Streaming report. Stay tuned, streamers!

About the Author

Jake Buckler
Jake Buckler is a cord-cutter, consumer electronics geek, and Celtic folk music fan. Those qualities, and his writing experience, helped him land a copywriting gig at Signal Group, LLC. He also contributes to The Solid Signal Blog.