AT&T's Stephenson says new mobile video service will begin 'turning heads' in January

AT&T (NYSE: T) CEO Randall Stephenson said his company's anticipated mobile video service will finally launch in January.

"We will get to put some details on this, announce it and launch it in January, the idea that you put that portfolio of mobile stacked content together with a really robust wireless asset. It will turn some heads," he said.

Stephenson made his remarks at the UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, an event covered by Deadline Hollywood and the Hollywood Reporter, among other media. 

He once again confirmed that program rights acquired amid AT&T's DirecTV purchase will be an essential programming component to the new service.

"Putting together a bundle of DirecTV content they can acquire over a mobile device or a single screen in the home: that is something we are very interested in…You should assume we're doing something," Stephenson said.

He added that the DirecTV acquisition has given AT&T a unique combination of mobile and "stacking" rights -- the latter lets AT&T offer full current seasons of TV shows, including the latest episodes, as well as past seasons. 

Original content developed through AT&T's partnership with Peter Chernin and Otter Media will also play a big role. "We're developing some unique and exciting things" that could go to DirecTV or mobile customers, Stephenson said. 

Otter's original programming is "not at the level of Netflix content," he conceded, but the company continues to have "a lot of irons in the fire" in regard to Otter.

A January launch would put AT&T's mobile video platform into the market about five months after its chief competitor, Verizon (NYSE: VZ), launched its mobile video play, Go90.

Cable companies, most notably Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA), are also interested in joining the mobile video market through their MVNO deals with Verizon. 

"They need it" to keep up with consumers who increasingly watch video out of the home, Stephenson said. But "it's going to be tough to come into this space without owner's economics."

For more:
- read this Deadline Hollywood story
- read this Hollywood Reporter story

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