DirecTV Now, AT&T’s digital streaming service, has filled the biggest hole in its channel lineup.
According to CNET, the service will add CBS and other CBS-owned networks (including CBS Sports Network) some time “in the coming weeks.” DirecTV Now will launch CBS-affiliated stations in 14 American media markets and make CBS shows available nationwide on-demand.
As CNET points out, the move to add CBS seems timed to the start of football season, which will return to CBS on Sept. 10, the first Sunday of the NFL calendar.
CBS is maybe the second most essential channel on the dial for sports fans, after ESPN. In addition to AFC football (and the Super Bowl every third year), it carries the Final Four, the Masters and an impressive slate of college football and basketball.
With CBS aboard, DirecTV Now looks like as good an option as any for sports-watching cable-cutters looking for a streaming service. Its basic $35-a-month package already includes NBC, ABC, Fox ESPN, ESPN2, FS1, NBC SportsNet, TNT and TBS, and more expensive premium options also include FS2, MLB Network, NHL Network, NBATV, BTN, SEC Network, Golf Channel, ESPNEWS, ESPNU. The only notable remaining absence among sports channels is NFL Network.
Additionally, NFL Sunday Ticket remains unavailable through DirecTV Now, despite being a longtime feature on linear DirecTV packages.
In an increasingly competitive market for streaming services, securing rights to CBS was a must for DirecTV Now. CBS remains American’s most watched network, largely because ungodly numbers of people watch Big Bang Theory and NCIS but also because it is a substantial part of the sports fan’s TV diet. For someone picking between different streaming services, access to AFC football on Sundays could easily be the deciding factor.