Directv Now logoTotal Directv Now subscribers have reached the 1 million mark, AT&T announced today. AT&T’s streaming OTT service provides a live channel line-up and video-on-demand, competing with a growing number of OTT alternatives to traditional pay-tv services.

Directv Now is about a year old. There was an initial push that garnered 250K subscribers by year end 2016, followed by some widely reported technical challenges that slowed growth. Just last month, an AT&T executive cited total Directv Now subscriber numbers of 800K.

Streaming OTT providers, or vMVPDs tend to be tight lipped about subscriber counts, so it’s not entirely clear where Directv Now fits among its competitors. By my estimates, Directv Now is in the top 3, perhaps top 2, with Sony Playstation Vue and DISH’s Sling TV the other main contenders. Sling TV is reported to have north of 2 million subscribers.

“This milestone is an incredible testament to the thousands of hours many people spent working to bring this product online and continually improving it during the past year,” said David Christopher, president, AT&T Entertainment Group in a press release. “We’re thrilled so many customers have come to love DIRECTV NOW and can’t wait to bring them a host of new features in 2018.”

AT&T has turned up the promotional efforts, including linking Directv Now to mobile wireless subscriptions. Past promotions have included providing a monthly $25 credit towards Directv Now for wireless subscribers who opt for one of AT&T’s unlimited plans. Twenty-five dollar credits can create pretty disruptive pricing for a traditional pay-TV alternative that was already aggressively priced. Pricing currently starts at $35 for 64 channels.

Directv Now Enhancements
AT&T announced several new enhancements are coming to Directv Now, including a cloud DVR. AT&T is a little late to the cloud DVR party, with its competitors having offered the feature for some time now. Additional features to be launched later in 2018 include:

  • 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) quality video
  • Capacity for more than 35,000 titles on demand
  • Individual user profiles
  • Adding an additional concurrent stream (currently two)

“To reach 1 million subscribers is an important benchmark for any OTT video service, but to go from zero to 1 million subscribers so quickly is quite an achievement,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of Research, Parks Associates in the AT&T press release.

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