AT&T reportedly has soft-launched its approach to the TV Everywhere model--that is, a video portal offering gated access to online TV content and other programming. The AT&T Entertainment portal had not been announced officially as of late last week, though NewTeeVee reported details of the offering complete with screen shots.
It's not completely clear whether this means we can count AT&T out of the TV Everywhere camp, or if the telco giant is just testing an approach that could eventually be integrated somehow with the Time Warner-driven TV Everywhere model. It's safe to say that telcos, cable TV operators and any other TV service providers are still feeling their way around the concept of giving subscribers authentication-based access to TV programming online.
And though it is still early and the future of the AT&T Entertainment portal remains unclear, I have to say I like the telco's move to establish a simple and specific brand that lends it an identity associated with online content distribution. That identity has as much potential, if not more, than already-forged online TV brands like Hulu and new ones like TV Everywhere.
Verizon Communications already is part of the TV Everywhere camp, but this move by AT&T makes me wonder what Verizon might be doing to develop its own online TV identity in parallel with the TV Everywhere concept. Being part of an industry standard with an immediately resonant name may be important in the relatively new world of online TV, but what if you already have a pretty powerful brand to bring to the party?
Verizon joined TV Everywhere late last month