DirecTV Now, fuboTV fight to break through vMVPD clutter with Roku promos

Roku player for pay TV market
Promotions involving popular OTT platform Roku are hardly new. (Roku)

DirecTV Now and fuboTV have announced yet more aggressive promotions surrounding the Roku platform, as they try to spur subscriber growth in the ultracompetitive market for livestreamed pay TV services.

Currently riding a wave of momentum that saw it add 312,000 subscribers in the first quarter, AT&T’s DirecTV Now is offering a free Roku Streaming Stick ($50 MSRP) to users who prepay for a month of service (base price is $35).

Meanwhile, fuboTV is offering first month of free service to buyers of new Roku streaming devices, as well as smart TVs that license the Roku platform, through July 8.

Of course, promotions involving the most popular OTT platform, Roku, are hardly new, with most vMVPD services frequently conducting campaigns that involve subsidized devices … or service for users of said devices. 

RELATED: Deeper Dive—AT&T gets explicit on its ‘transition’ to DirecTV Now … and how the low-margin virtual platform will pay its freight

For DirecTV Now, the promotions are all about sustaining momentum. During AT&T’s first-quarter earnings call last week, CFO John Stephens warned investors that the company’s video business would be under intense margin pressure, as it aggressively migrates linear DirecTV satellite and U-verse IPTV customers to virtual platforms like DirecTV Now. 

Currently with around 1.5 million users, DirecTV Now accounts for around 17% of AT&T’s pay TV subscriber base. 

For fuboTV, meanwhile, the promotions are about gaining traction in market crowded with much bigger companies.

Last month, the startup announced a $75 million series D round of funding, bringing total investment into the company to $150 million to date. 

Among the new investors in this latest round is AMC Networks, which joined existing investors 21st Century Fox, Sky, Luminari Capital, Northzone and the former Scripps Networks Interactive, recently acquired by Discovery, Inc.

FuboTV said it will use the funds to bolster its engineering and product teams, launch new features and step up its marketing activity.