That didn’t take long. Just days after winning approval for its $85 billion acquisition of Time Warner, AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) has announced two new unlimited wireless plans that will launch next week under the moniker “Watch TV.”
Watch TV will debut with more than 30 live channels and be compatible with just about every device imaginable. AT&T said that more than 15,000 TV shows and movies will also be available on demand.
At launch, Watch TV will be available in two packages: AT&T Unlimited &More and AT&T Unlimited &More Premium. Both offer a $15 a month credit toward DirecTV Now (Premium also offers the credit toward DirecTV and U-verse TV), along with a specified amount of “unlimited” data. A $15 per month standalone package will be available soon according to the company.
It appears that AT&T is using Watch TV as a first display of what the company wants consumers to believe is a benefit of the Time Warner acquisition. The company’s president of mobility and entertainment, David Christopher, said:
We were the first wireless provider to bring entertainment and unlimited data together, and, once again, we’re redefining what that means. This is no longer about including one channel or service with your wireless plan, but an incredible lineup of content that delivers more of what you care about … with more to come!
AT&T has to find a way to stop bleeding subscribers to its pay-TV offerings, and offering more for less money to current and new customers is one way to do that. For that strategy to work, AT&T will have to add new subscribers, not just cut its losses.
The stand-alone package appears to be just a me-too offering to compete with Dish Network’s Sling TV and similar stripped-down offerings. Even if it ends up being different in some significant way, AT&T would need seven subscribers to match the average revenue for a single linear video subscriber and three subscribers to match the revenue of a single broadband subscriber.
AT&T shares traded up about 0.4% early Thursday, at $32.14 in a 52-week range of $31.17 to $39.80. The 12-month price target on the stock is $37.61.