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AT&T’s DirecTV Now Is Doubling Local TV Stations Since Launch — But Still No CBS

Variety logo Variety 6/30/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

DirecTV Now, AT&T’s over-the-top pay TV service, is adding more than 35 local TV stations affiliated with ABC, NBC and Fox starting next week — more than doubling its local broadcast footprint since launching last November.

But CBS remains entirely absent from the DirecTV Now lineup. CBS sells its own OTT service, CBS All Access, available in most U.S. markets starting at $6 monthly.

AT&T claimed that with the expanded ABC, Fox and NBC stations, DirecTV Now provides live local coverage for nearly 70% of U.S. TV households. The latest rollout includes the addition of ABC affiliates in more than 30 new markets, including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Boston, and NBC stations in Kansas City, Mo., Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and West Palm Beach, Fla.

In April, Fox Networks Group and AT&T reached a deal to add 14 Fox affiliate stations to DirecTV Now. Under the latest expansion, the OTT service is adding Fox’s affiliate in Juneau, Alaska.

According to the telco, by the end of August, it plans to have agreements in place with local broadcasters to add even more stations, representing three times the number of local live channels available since DirecTV Now’s launch.

DirecTV Now saw a surge of initial signups, spurred by a heavily discounted intro package that was discontinued in January. But the OTT service’s subscriber growth reportedly tapered off in the first quarter of 2017. (AT&T didn’t break out results for DirecTV Now in reporting Q1 results.)

Asked about the absence of CBS when DirecTV Now launched last fall, John Stankey, CEO of AT&T Entertainment Group, said he didn’t expect it to hamper the product’s success.

“When you look at the demographic we’re going after… there is not going to be one single network that is the reason [consumers] won’t subscribe,” Stankey said. “Whether they can get CBS primetime shows is not going to be a determining factor.”

DirecTV Now offers more than 120 national channels in the highest-priced tier, plus than 20,000 on demand titles and premium channels HBO, Cinemax and Starz (but not CBS-owned Showtime). The service in May added support for Roku devices, in addition to Apple TV (fourth generation), Amazon Fire TV and Fire Stick TV, Google Chromecast, iPad and iPhone, Android mobile devices and web browsers.

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