One of AT&T’s top video executives said the streaming issues that have plagued the virtual DirecTV Now platform are merely champagne problems related to the platform’s fast customer growth.
"We saw more activity in one day than most (cross-platform streaming video services) see in a lifetime. This is the first live TV experience at scale,” said Tony Goncalves, senior VP of strategy and business development for AT&T Entertainment Group, speaking to FierceWireless at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona Spain.
AT&T revealed during its fourth-quarter earnings call last month that DirecTV Now acquired around 200,000 customers in its first month after launch.
“What happened with DirecTV Now was pure volume, to be quite honest. It’s live television at scale and we had more customers in the early days than some of these services got in a year,” Goncalves elaborated to subscription news site The Information.
Besides, he added the situation is resolving itself. “Yes, we are seeing some material improvements in the stability of the platform.”
Since launching Nov. 30, AT&T’s IP-based pay-TV platform has experienced myriad service interruptions, including a glitch last week that made the program guide inaccessible.
Dan Rayburn, EVP of Streaming Media.com and principal analyst for Frost & Sullivan, told FierceOnlineVideo last month that AT&T hastily pushed out before it was actually ready for prime time.
“You can’t come out to the market and make a such a big declaration about how the service is going to be, use words like quality, talk about how it’s a game changer, and how it’s going to revolutionize video,” Rayburn said. “If you came to market and said this is beta, you can set expectations properly.”
Goncalves, however, insists the typical DirecTV Now customer is a high-volume user who streams a lot of data. Solving the technical issue is merely a matter of matching the platform’s engineering to the usage.
“If we look at the data coming back on who’s subscribing, it’s not the low-value consumer or cost seeker—it’s the consumer who is tech-savvy, younger, lives more so in a multi-dwelling unit than a single-family home,” he said.