AT&T is reportedly raising the price of DirecTV Now by $10 a month and notifying current subscribers that they will pay the new, higher price starting in April.
DirecTV Now packages today cost $40 to $75 a month before add-ons such as HBO, and current customers will reportedly pay $10 a month more regardless of which package they subscribe to, making the prices $50 to $85.
News reports say AT&T is also reconfiguring its channel packages for new subscribers, adding HBO to basic packages while eliminating dozens of channels that aren’t part of the AT&T-owned Time Warner Inc. New customers will reportedly be able to choose from two slimmer plans costing $50 or $70 a month.
The price hike and channel reduction are happening despite AT&T promising that its acquisition of Time Warner would lower prices for customers. When the Department of Justice tried to stop the merger, AT&T told a judge in a May 2018 court filing that the merger “will enable the merged company to reduce prices.”
But AT&T raised the base price of its DirecTV Now streaming service by $5 per month in July 2018, just weeks after completing the merger. Now AT&T is imposing an even bigger price increase.
DirecTV Now is the online-only version of DirecTV, delivered without a satellite hookup. AT&T had 1.6 million DirecTV Now subscribers as of December 31, 2018 after losing 267,000 subscribers in the quarter, an AT&T earnings report said. AT&T said that many subscribers on heavily discounted plans didn’t keep the service when they had to pay full price.
Current DirecTV Now subscribers will be alerted to the $10 increase in email notifications today and will pay the new price on or after April 12, Cord Cutters News reported. AT&T employees provided documents with this information to Cord Cutters News, the article said.
The new prices for existing customers will be as follows, according to : “Current DirecTV Now customers will see their monthly rates increase $10, while they will continue to receive the same channel lineup. Those are Live a Little (65+ channels), rising to $50/month; Just Right (85+ channels), going up to $65/month; Go Big (105+ channels), which increases to $75/month; Gotta Have It (125+ channels), going to $85/month; and Spanish-language package Todo y Más (90+ channels), increasing to $55/month.” For current customers, HBO is a $5-per-month add-on.
The new package information was briefly posted on DirecTV Now’s website but was then taken offline, Variety wrote.
Smaller channel lineup in new plans
While current subscribers will reportedly continue receiving the same packages with 65+ to 125+ channels, the packages for new subscribers or people who switch to the new plans will have just 40+ to 50+ channels.
“The new packages are DirecTV Now Plus ($50 per month for 40-plus channels) and DirecTV Now Max ($70 per month for 50-plus channels including regional sports networks and other sports channels), both of which will include HBO,” wrote. These new packages will “not include any networks from A&E Networks, AMC Networks, Discovery or Viacom,” though “both include channels from AT&T-owned Turner and HBO.”
Cord Cutters News published a list of all the channels that will be in the Plus and Max packages. The loss of networks will remove channels such as Comedy Central and BBC America from the basic packages.
Channels that aren’t in the new DirecTV Now packages may become available in a new, streaming version of DirecTV, but at higher prices than customers pay for DirecTV Now. It’s not clear why AT&T would unveil another streaming version of DirecTV that’s separate from DirecTV Now. But here’s what Cord Cutters News says about the forthcoming option:
You will now have the option to get DirecTV packages as a streaming package, but the pricing will reportedly be the same as the satellite version.
According to our sources, AT&T will be selling a 65+ channel streaming version of DIRECTV for $93 a month, an 85+ version of DIRECTV for $110 a month, a 105+ channel version of DirecTV for $124, and a 125+ channel version of DirecTV for $135 a month streaming online.
The DirecTV satellite service lost 1.24 million subscribers in 2018, ending the year with 19.2 million subscribers.
We’ve asked AT&T for details on the various price and channel changes and will update this story if we get any new information.
AT&T and other pay-TV providers have generally blamed TV price increases on rising programming costs. In online streaming, big companies such as AT&T have found that it’s expensive to compete against Netflix, according to a Bloomberg report this week.
DirecTV already raised prices for satellite customers in January. AT&T also made it more expensive to cancel DirecTV with a new policy to charge customers for the full month after they cancel service, instead of providing a prorated credit for the final month.