AT&T unveiled their new streaming television service, DirecTV Now, and its various available plans that range from $35-$75 a month, on November 30th. Special launch deals, like the $35 “Go Big” package with over 100 channels (normally $60 a month), make this an exciting launch for cord-cutters. For those Game of Thrones and Westworld fans out there, you can even add premium channels like HBO and Showtime for an additional $5 a month. The most interesting part of DirecTV Now isn’t the packages being offered, but the advertisements that you’ll be seeing as a customer.
At a recent public meeting, where Reese Witherspoon( who has her own channel on this service) made an appearance, AT&T outlined their plans to better utilize customer data when targeting advertisements on the new service. This will allow for an unprecedented level of personalization in advertising, making each ad much more relevant for every customer. This will have a profound impact, not only on customer satisfaction, but on the total advertising load. As companies spend more money on targeted ad spends, that load is bound to decrease.
However, this is a long-term plan for the DirecTV Now service; the launch reality is much closer to the traditional advertising model. AT&T has voiced plans to allow for dynamic insertion of ads into live television programming by the middle of 2017. The sheer amount of data AT&T will have access too, combined with the technology to target ad delivery to individual houses makes this space lucrative for future advertising potential.
It’s possible that this new focused market for personalized advertisements will completely change the television advertising landscape. The 15, 30 and 60 second spot format of old could be thrown out the window as advertisers learn that consumers are more amenable to longer ads that are comprised of more relevant content. Only time will tell, but AT&T has positioned themselves to capitalize on these changes with DirecTV Now.
While you may have to wait a while yet for those perfectly curated advertisements, AT&T makes a compelling case for their DirectTV Now services based on the product alone. With competitive pricing, channel package variety and a clean user interface, AT&T has created a viable competitor for products like DISH Network’s Sling TV and the Playstation Vue. While it’s not the clear winner, it’s certainly a competitor in the market for streaming television alternatives. The company’s position on the future of data-based advertising makes the DirecTV Now a product to keep an eye on in the coming year.