Sign of the times: DirecTV switches from satellite to OTT delivery
DirecTV, the US pay-TV operator that has been closely associated with satellite delivery since its launch in 1994, is to switch its focus to over-the-top delivery, in a sign of the changing times in broadcasting, according to its owner, telecoms giant AT&T.
John Donovan, chief executive of AT&T Communications, said during a presentation to analysts: “We’ve launched our last satellite.”
DirecTV, which has 19.63 million subscribers, is following in the footsteps of ESPN, the Walt Disney-owned sports broadcaster, which has reacted to changing media consumption habits by launching ESPN+, an OTT streaming platform, which went live in April and already has more than 1 million subscribers for the broadcaster’s wide range of programming. This includes the MLB, NHL, MLS, top NCAA college sports, and, from next year, UFC.
Randall Stephenson, chairman and chief executive of AT&T Inc, said: “We are seeing shifts in viewing from traditional TV viewing - cable, satellite - to on-demand viewing, and streaming on-demand viewing.”
As a result, he said, media companies are “recognising that they no longer have the luxury to rely exclusively on wholesale distribution of their content to customers going through satellite and cable companies.”
Meanwhile, in Russia, the TNT-Premier OTT Platform, which launched in August and is operated by Gazprom-Media, has already attracted 6.1 million unique visitors.
Gazprom-Media also said that the subscriber base of Match Premier, its new premium soccer channel launched in the third quarter, rose by 24 per cent in its first month of operation.