Those who follow the content provider space will remember the rocky start that met DirecTV Now after its initial public launch. While AT&T first dismissed the troubling claims as a minor inconvenience, they have now admitted that the company was not prepared to deal with the rapid growth of the streaming service.
At the Jefferies 2017 Technology Conference in Miami, AT&T’s president of technology and operations Bill Hogg remarked that “[DirecTV Now] ramped up a lot faster than we ever thought it would, which is a great thing but also caught us a bit flat-footed on a couple things”.
While the service seems to have ironed out most of the kinks by now, there are still user complaints of various issues that have yet to be remedied. “What we’re seeing is the error rates are declining pretty fast and that the platform is stabilizing,” said Hogg.
In the months following the initial launch of DirecTV Now the service saw an influx of upwards of 200,000 new users. While AT&T has not yet released specific numbers detailing the first quarter of 2017, the Leichtmann Research Group estimates that DirecTV Now and Sling TV collectively added about 350,000 new users during this first quarter.
AT&T remains tight lipped about the specific numbers, but their senior EVP and chief financial officer, John Stephens remarked at the MoffettNathanson Media and Communications Summit that the new OTT TV service “…has met our expectations”.
Stephens went on to talk about how AT&T does not view DirecTV Now as a replacement for DirecTV “….but as a way to expand the pie and hit an underserved market,” according to Mulitchannel News.
Competition continues to heat up in the content provider space as AT&T recovers from their recent loss of Straight Path Communications to Verizon. AT&T is confident that the loss of that deal will not disrupt their projected growth, but the continued success of DirecTV Now is integral to the success of that plan. While projections seem high, the truth is anyone’s guess until AT&T releases the actual numbers.