By Malathi Nayak
NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc on Tuesday said it will roll out three new ways to stream DIRECTV content on wireless and wired devices from smartphones to PCs, targeted at price-conscious U.S. viewers who shun pricey cable and satellite subscriptions.
The Dallas, Texas-based wireless provider said it expects to launch the three offerings in the fourth quarter of 2016. They can be streamed on apps through any Internet or mobile connection, it added.
The first option DIRECTV Now will offer all content in its current packages, including add-ons, live and on-demand video. DIRECTV Mobile, for smartphone users only, will include premium content and youth-oriented videos created by Otter Media, an AT&T joint venture with an investment group headed by media entrepreneur Peter Chernin. Free, ad-supported DIRECTV Preview will offer content from "AT&T’s AUDIENCE Network," which has exclusive original videos, in addition to Otter Media offerings.
Prices will be announced at a later date, a company spokesman said.
AT&T acquired DIRECTV for $48.5 billion last year, making it the world's No. 1 pay-TV operator with 45 million video subscribers, including Mexico and Latin America, at the end of 2015. It is betting big on video to tap new revenue as the U.S. wireless market stagnates.
The online video market is competitive, with players such as Netflix Inc and new entrants like Dish Network Corp and Verizon Communications Inc rushing to service viewers who increasingly consume video online than through pay-TV services.
AT&T's CEO Randall Stephenson hinted in December that his company was planning content packages that can be viewed on a smaller screen, or to a single screen in a home that's not set-top box-driven.
AT&T executives have said the company has already acquired mobile streaming rights, by leveraging DirecTV's relationships and agreements with content providers, for various premium cable channels such as Showtime. It will deploy 40 megahertz of contiguous airwaves to relay content over its network.
"We intend to offer customers a quality pay-TV experience, including top channels, sports and more, with increased value and flexibility of pure online streaming and no need for home installation,” John Stankey, CEO, AT&T Entertainment Group, said in a statement.
Stankey will be speaking at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco on Wednesday morning.
DIRECTV will continue offering its satellite TV package that can also be streamed through an app on mobile devices, in addition to its U-Verse TV and Internet services, the company said.
(Reporting by Malathi Nayak; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)