Starz today officially announced it will be a part of AT&T’s incoming DirecTV Now live streaming service, with eight channels pegged for inclusion when the service launches later this month.
Earlier reports had anticipated Starz’s participation in the new platform. The premium channel joins other media companies including ABC/Disney, NBCUniversal, Viacom, HBO, Scripps and A&E which have already signed deals with the service.
DirecTV Now, which will start out at a $35/month price point, has yet to announce its full lineup, which is expected to include 100 channels. However, it’s unclear if all channels -- in particular, premium channels from HBO and now Starz – will be included at that price or will be sold as add-ons.
AT&T has yet to sign distribution deals with Fox and CBS, though both have signal intent to be included with all vMVPD services that are launching in the near future. Should those two networks sign on for inclusion with DirecTV Now, analysts like Barclays’ Amir Rozwadowski find it doubtful that all channels from all partners will be able to fit under the relatively small $35 price.
“What we don’t know at this juncture is how many of its content partners, which channels and which feature sets will be included at the $35 price point. From our end, this makes it difficult to compare the service on a like for like basis vs. other OTT services available in the market,” said Rozwadowski in a research note.
For now, Starz is only fitting eight channels into that equation but it said it will add to DirecTV Now more from the Starz and Starz Encore lineup at a later date. In addition, the premium network said that it is also throwing in its full VOD catalog.