att watchtvIn the midst of suffering a major outage to their DIRECTV NOW OTT service, AT&T announced the official launch of AT&T WatchTV, a new skinny-bundle OTT service priced at $15. The latest OTT service from AT&T is also free with certain AT&T Unlimited wireless plans.

WatchTV offers 30+ channels of linear video, plus about 15K TV shows and movies on-demand. AT&T revealed the plan for the mobile focused WatchTV during their battle with the U.S. Department of Justice to get their $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner approved. WatchTV strips out expensive sports programming and avoids local broadcast channels and the costly retransmission fees they incur.

“Days after closing the AT&T-Time Warner merger, we’re rolling out our newest video offering called WatchTV, available on the nation’s best network for streaming video,” AT&T states in a press release. “You can stream through the WatchTV app or on select browsers at no additional cost with our two latest unlimited wireless plans.”

AT&T WatchTV

WatchTV Channel Line-Up (Source: AT&T)

WatchTV will be free with two new unlimited wireless plans the carrier announced today. AT&T Unlimited &More Premium is priced at $80/month and includes WatchTV, an option to add an additional streaming service (HBO, Starz, Cinemax, Showtime, or Pandora Premium among others), and a monthly $15 credit towards DIRECTVNOW, U-verse TV, or DIRECTV.

A second $70/month option, AT&T Unlimited &More, strips out the additional streaming service and offers lower quality streaming and data service. Non-AT&T wireless customers will be able to get WatchTV for $15/month.

DIRECTV NOW Outage
The launch comes amid a wide outage of their current OTT platform, DIRECTV NOW. That service has garnered over 1.5 million subscribers so far and offers a broader channel line-up, which starts at $35/month.

DIRECTV NOW Outage Heat Map (Source: Down Detector)

 

The outage apparently began overnight and continued into this morning for many, although it appeared that AT&T was bringing the service back up slowly throughout the morning. The irony of detailing the launch of one OTT service during an outage of a current OTT service highlights the challenges of large scale OTT services, in what is  still a relatively nascent streaming industry.