DirecTV Now users will be among the first AT&T customers to beta test the company’s new video platform this summer.
The new AT&T platform will add cloud DVR capabilities to DirecTV Now, a feature that was conspicuously absent within the now very competitive market for vMVPD services.
More broadly, the new platform will place DirecTV Now, as well as multiscreen apps for traditional DirecTV satellite service and other AT&T consumer-facing video services, on a unified “next-generation” server base that will deliver 30,000 on-demand library titles in both HD and 4K.
AT&T said the new platform will officially roll out later this year. Features such as user profiles and download capabilities will be added in 2018.
"By developing for a single video platform, we'll deliver new features and platform innovations in a faster, more efficient way. And it will be simple and consistent wherever you watch—TV, phone or tablet,” said David Christopher, chief marketing officer, AT&T Entertainment Group.
AT&T said the platform is yet another indicator that it’s becoming a “software-based” company, which uses public betas “to more quickly bring new and enhanced experiences to customers.”
After attracting what it said were close to 200,000 sign-ups in the first 30 days of operation for DirecTV Now, the platform hit the skids in February, adding only around 3,000 subscribers, according to Bloomberg. Growth was flat in March, the news service added.
AT&T executives said that the early fast growth of the platform caught them “flat-footed,” as a coalescence of a mass audience for the nascent platform outpaced the ability of engineers to work out early bugs.
AT&T executives said they scaled back promotion in the first quarter to work out those technical kinks.