AT&T is making another assault on the “me too” scenario faced by telcoTV providers in the U.S. TelcoTV providers are constantly trying to create some differentiation between their video service and that of their cable and DBS competitors. Otherwise, all you have is a “me too” video service, with very little distinction from what’s already available in the marketplace. With that in mind, AT&T announced the launch of AT&T Online Photos from Flickr, which allows the viewing of Flickr based photos and slideshows on the AT&T U-verse platform.
According to AT&T, they are “the only video service provider to offer an integrated online photos channel… at no extra charge.” The photo service channel is located on channel 91 of U-verse’s channel line-up. AT&T also offers a variety of other differentiating applications, including AT&T U-bar, which provides customizable weather, stock, sports and traffic information; YELLOWPAGES.COM TV, which lets customers search for local businesses and other information via their TV screen; and AT&T Yahoo! Games. Of course AT&T is not alone with this strategy. DirecTV has offered differentiated programming offers with interesting applications, particularly with sports programming. Their NFL Sunday Ticket and NASCAR Hot Pass programming and feature packages create considerable differentiation, and thus competitive advantage with select audiences. Cable has their fair share of differentiation attempts as well. It all adds up to an interesting experiment in trying to create the right mix of features/applications, pricing, and customer service that creates a compelling experience. The right experience drives positive retention, expanding growth, and growing ARPU – a winning proposition for any competitor.