AT&T announced it will offer 100 channels and mobile streaming for $35 per month when it launches DirectTV in November.
This is a different position for AT&T, which said it wouldn’t be taking on existing pay TV services and it comes right in time for another major content announcement with Time Warner . AT&T announced this last weekend it wants to buy Time Warner for $85 billion.
The DirectTV deal was announced on stage at the Wall Street Journal Live conference today, where AT&T’s Randall Stephenson joined Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes to talk all things merger.
Stephenson was adamant the low-priced subscription plan wouldn’t be possible without the previous DirectTV deal and — despite the coming regulatory hurdles involved — seemed confident about the prospect of joining business hands with Bewkes, saying the goal is to drive pricing down even further.
“Anyone who sees this as a way to raise prices is ignoring the basic premise,” Stephenson said, adding he is evangelical about how the deal with Time Warner would create a major cable competitor.
He also vowed to protect the journalistic integrity of Time Warner’s subsidiaries, adding the brand would become a “launching pad of innovation.”
But first, the two companies will have to overcome those upcoming regulatory obstacles. Though Stephenson and Bewkes see the merger as great for consumer choice, some worry this would give AT&T the power to drive up prices in an attempt to funnel consumers to its own platform instead.
Interest group Public Knowledge has argued as much, saying the deal raises concerns around preferential treatment of its own programming pointing out AT&T, “has already announced that it plans to zero-rate its upcoming online video service.”
Stephenson countered any notion of that, saying Time Warner would run independently of AT&T.