The Skinnier $15 OTT Bundle Has Arrived

Hot on the heels of Philo announcing plans for Fire TV and Apple TV apps comes testimony word that AT&T will soon launch Watch. To hit the $15 price point, these two over-the-top streaming services provide fewer channels and do away with sports-centric programming that drives up licensing costs. For comparison, Sling TV starts at $20/mo … with ESPN. And most bundles run significantly more (although include a broader channel lineup, with local networks in many markets, and additional features like unlimited DVR from YouTube TV @ $40/mo). On the flip side, Philo will provide access to bundle networks’ dedicated apps and corresponding library of on-demand content — even the skinniest of bundles may be more appealing and cost-effective than individual network subscriptions. Sorry CBS All Access ($6/mo).

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  • Also Watch will be free for AT&T cellular subscribers, which is a nice bonus. If it includes TV Everywhere I might even find a use for it.

  • My prediction: AT&T Watch will be the new brand name for DirecTV Now. The rebranding will be unveiled when the revamped DirecTV Now app, with cloud DVR, finally comes out of beta at some point this spring. In addition to the three existing channel packages, a new one for $15 will be added at the low end, without locals or sports channels. It will contain the Turner (soon to be AT&T-owned) channels plus some of the most popular nets from Discovery/Scripps, Viacom, AMC, A+E and maybe Hallmark. Nothing from Disney/ABC, Comcast/NBC, CBS or Fox. At some point they'll begin selling a customized Android TV box -- as Sling TV does with their Air TV Player -- that can integrate free local OTA channels via antenna into the AT&T Watch UI. Get ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, PBS plus a modest cable TV package of CNN, TBS, TNT, HGTV, Discovery, MTV, AMC, A&E and a few other popular nets for just $15 a month? Dang. We couldn't even do that back in the basic cable heydays of the early '90s.

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Dave Zatz