AT&T (NYSE: T) will expand DirecTV's Audience Network beyond the confines of the satellite service for the first time, making it available to nearly 6 million U-verse video subscribers.
Launched in 1999 as "Freeview," the channel was rebranded as the 101 Network in 2005, and the Audience Network in 2011. In addition to recorded concerts, the channel has debuted a number of original series, notably taking over NBC Studios' Friday Night Lights for two seasons after it was pulled from the NBC broadcast network. DirecTV used the Audience network to perform a similar resuscitation on FX's Damages.
The current programming lineup includes the MMA-themed drama series Kingdom, the live music-based Guitar Center Sessions, Off Camera with Sam Jones, and the upcoming Undeniable with Joe Buck.
Viewership and advertising reach have been confined to the channel's 20 million-plus subscriber reach in the U.S., but exclusive programming on platforms like Audience and NFL Sunday Ticket were key components for DirecTV as it quickly grew its customer base in the 2000s.
"We're always looking for new ways to give our customers the most value for their programming dollar. Adding Audience Network is a perfect way to do that," said Dan York, chief content officer at AT&T.
"Since 2011, Audience Network has always had one goal -- to create the most compelling original content for our customers and provide them with an entertainment experience that cannot be found anywhere else," added Chris Long, senior VP of AT&T Original Content and Production.
- read this DirecTV press release
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