Charter’s Rutledge: DirecTV not selling below price at $35 because it’s not a full bundle

Tom Rutledge
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge. Image: Charter

Charter Communications Chairman and CEO Tom Rutledge dismissed the notion that AT&T is undercutting the cable market by selling its upcoming virtual pay-TV service DirecTV Now at a loss-leader price of $35 a month. 

“The description of the product is consistent with the price. I don’t think they’re below price, but I also don’t think they’re [offering] a full bundle,” Rutledge told investment analysts during today’s third quarter earnings call with investors. 

RELATED: AT&T readies DirecTV Now launch without CBS or Fox

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Asked by an analyst what networks he thinks are missing, Rutledge responded, “I don’t think all the broadcast signals are there.”

As FierceCable reported Monday, AT&T has confirmed deals with every major programming conglomerate for DirecTV Now, except 21st Century Fox and CBS Corp., respective parents of the FOX and CBS broadcast networks. 

AT&T has already committed to a $35 a month price for its virtual service, which will launch late this month with more than 100 channels. 

RELATED: Charter loses 47K video subs in Q3 as TWC promo customers flee

Rutledge, meanwhile, has traditionally been dismissive regarding the skinny bundle trend. And he didn’t change his tune – which is a bit counter-intuitive with the rest of the pay-TV industry – this morning. He told analysts that the rate of customers requesting full video packages is actually increasing. 

“The mix is actually going heavier,” he said. “But to the extent that [programmers] will allow us to sell smaller packages, we’d be happy to take advantage of that.”


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