DIRECTV Could Offer Niche TV Via the Net

DIRECTV Could Offer Niche TV Via the Net
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 13, 2013) – DIRECTV CEO Mike White said yesterday that his company is working on a Net TV streaming service that would offer niche programming to specific groups.

Reuters reports that the niche Net TV service would be sold separately from its regular satellite TV service. While the niche streaming service would enable DIRECTV to reach groups that may otherwise not be interested, it’s a long stretch from a full-fledged Net TV service that would target all consumers.

Wall Street analyst Jason Bazinet said earlier this week that DIRECTV was considering offering its entire programming service over the Net, according to Investors Business Daily.

White, however, said yesterday that his company would prefer to offer a limited number of channels via streaming.

“I don’t see it as 200 channels of broad based (content),” White said. “If you want to do something, you want to be differentiated and distinctive.”

The DIRECTV chief said the niche service could target Hispanics or young budget-conscious consumers, for instance. He was reluctant to offer more details on the plan, saying more will be revealed in the next year.

White reiterated yesterday that DIRECTV is now unlikely to buy an existing streaming service. The company attempted to buy Hulu earlier this year, but was rebuffed when Hulu’s owners pulled the service from an auction process.

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Could DIRECTV Offer TV Service Via the Net?
By Swanni

Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2013) – DIRECTV may unveil a live pay TV streaming service as early as this week, according to Citigroup analyst Jason Bazinet, as reported by Investors Business Daily.

The satcaster will hold an ‘investors day’ meeting in New York on Thursday. Bazinet said in a research note to his clients that DIRECTV could announce that it plans to offer its entire programming service over the Internet as well as via traditional satellite broadcasts.

If DIRECTV offered its service over the Internet, it could dramatically lower the cost of providing programming; Internet streaming requires a fraction of the expense of building and launching satellites. In addition, consumers who can’t access satellite programming because they can’t install dishes in their homes would suddenly become potential DIRECTV customers.

Of course, streaming, particularly streaming live events, can be unreliable, as DIRECTV can attest to. The company struggled earlier this year to provide live streams of its NFL Sunday Ticket games to its online subscribers.

Bazinet also noted in his research note that DIRECTV does not own a Broadband service so it could be vulnerable to Internet Service Providers deciding to place usage caps on its Net-based programming. Consequently, Investors Business Daily writes that Bazinet says DIRECTV would likely gradually roll out the Net TV offering.

“If (DIRECTV) management does unveil this platform, we expect limited testing in 2014 and rollout to ethnic niches and/or multi-dwellings shortly thereafter,” he wrote. “If deployment proceeds smoothly and data caps don’t restrict rollout, we could see broader U.S. deployment in the future.”

Investors Business Daily writes that Bazinet says DIRECTV might need to re-do its contracts with content providers to allow it to provide their channels over the Net.

DIRECTV isn’t the only TV provider rumored to be interested in offering its service over the Net. Dish Chairman Charlie Ergen has mentioned it as a possibility someday and Verizon is reportedly interested in buying Intel’s fledgling Net TV service. writes that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman predicted yesterday at an industry conference that a pay TV service would launch a Net-based streaming service in 2014. He did not mention any specific companies.

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