DirecTV: cable killer?
New online TV services could attract the millions of households that don’t pay for cable or satellite TV, potentially expanding the market for traditional watch-in-real-time television.
But they could also prompt some of the nearly 100 million people paying for TV to downgrade to a cheaper online bundle.
The first such services —Dish Network’s Sling and Sony’s PlayStation Vue, both introduced in early 2015— haven’t spurred a mass cable exodus. These services, experts estimate, have only a couple of million subscribers at most. They’re hampered by missing popular channels and confusing restrictions, and won’t work with regular TV sets without an extra streaming gadget, like an Apple TV or Roku.
A new offering from AT&T, called DirecTV Now, has these problems too. Fans of sports and local newscasts would likely stay put with cable. But AT&T, the country’s largest provider of traditional video, could have the muscle to make its service simpler and more complete.
Still to come next year is a Hulu live-streaming service, and potentially others from Google, Apple or Amazon as well.