AT&T is killing off the online-video service formerly known as DirecTV Now and introducing a no-contract option for the newer online service that replaced it. Ars Technica reports: AT&T unveiled DirecTV Now late in 2016, the year after AT&T bought the DirecTV satellite company. Prices originally started at $35 a month for the live-TV online service, and it had signed up 1.86 million subscribers by Q3 2018. But customers quickly fled as AT&T repeatedly raised prices and cut down on the use of promotional deals, leaving the service with just 683,000 subscribers at the end of Q3 2020. In 2019, AT&T changed the name from DirecTV Now to AT&T TV Now, creating confusion among customers and its own employees because the company simultaneously unveiled another online streaming service called AT&T TV.
AT&T TV was pitched as a more robust replacement for satellite TV, and it even mimicked cable and satellite by imposing contracts, hidden fees, and a big second-year price hike. Going forward, AT&T TV Now will no longer be offered to new customers, and AT&T TV will be the flagship for AT&T’s live-TV streaming business. “AT&T TV Now has merged with AT&T TV,” the service’s website says in an update flagged in a news article by TV Answer Man yesterday. For existing users, “AT&T TV Now customers’ service and plans remain in effect” without any changes, an AT&T spokesperson told Ars. “We have no other price changes to announce at this time.”