CenturyLink exploring possible role as DirecTV Now reseller

AT&T's John Stankey speaks at the launch announcement of DirecTV Now on Nov. 28, 2016. Image: AT&T / YouTube

Eager to deliver their customers over-the-top video, CenturyLink is looking at becoming a reseller of DirecTV Now, the virtual MVPD service launched last week by telco rival AT&T.

Speaking to investors Monday at an annual event conducted by UBS, CenturyLink CFO Stewart Ewing noted that CenturyLink is in the trial phase for an OTT service that it developed internally. “We didn’t know AT&T was trialing one too, otherwise we would have talked with them about potentially reselling their [DirecTV Now], and we may very well do that,” Ewing said.

Asked in a subsequent UBS discussion if his company might also consider acting as a DirecTV Now reseller, Frontier executive VP and CFO Perley McBride responded, “We would look at all options.”

Sponsored by Google Cloud

Webinar: Remote Post Production In The Cloud

Video production companies across the world have traditionally been tethered to physical facilities, but with the advent of covid-19, remote post production capabilities are more important than ever. Join this webinar to learn more about how video producers can utilize Google Cloud infrastructure, along with partner applications, to develop a remote post production suite that brings your artists and editors together, no matter where they are.

AT&T has not responded to these comments. 

RELATED: CBS’ Moonves: ‘I’m assuming we’ll be able to make a deal’ with DirecTV Now

Earlier this year, CenturyLink began a trial of an OTT service outside of its Prism footprint in four markets. The telco said it plans to officially roll out the OTT option to various markets early next year.

“We expect to make some margin on this and get much wider distribution,” Ewing said. “It’s more of what people are going to be looking for.”

RELATED: CenturyLink says OTT could replace IPTV platform over time, drive broadband growth

CenturyLink could use the OTT video product in other areas where it offers IPTV service today. Specifically, CenturyLink wants to attract users who can only get, or only want, 10 Mbps broadband service. Today, customers have to order a 25 Mbps minimum connection speed to get the Prism service.

“We’ll have a huge footprint where we can provide this product,” Ewing said. “It’s over the top with a Roku device and we’ll have local channels so we think for at least some time that will be a differentiator of our product.”

As for DirecTV Now, AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson used his UBS presentation to note that subscriber uptake for DirecTV Now exceeded AT&T’s expectation—within just a few days of the platform’s Nov. 30 launch—for the entire month of December. 

Suggested Articles

Sling this week announced a feature that integrates free, local over-the-air broadcast channels into the Sling TV guide on some 2020 LG smart TVs.

NBCUniversal’s entertainment business is getting new management and a new org chart that will further emphasize its shift toward streaming.

An executive order issued by President Trump late Thursday would ban business with ByteDance’s TikTok app 45 days after its issuance.