Now that AT&T’s purchase of Time Warner has been approved and closed, the next move is to announce a new sports-free streaming service that had only been disclosed during the company’s federal court case.
AT&T’s Watch TV skinny bundle is expected to be unveiled sometime this week. AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson said on CNBC last week that the new service will be a “very, very skinny bundle” and that it will include the Turner networks and it “will not have sports. It’ll be entertainment-centered.” The service will be free for AT&T unlimited wireless customers, and $15/month for non-customers, available on any platform, according to Stephenson.
“Any platform” is still a bit vague, but expect the usual Android and iOS apps plus connected TV availability and desktop access. With that in mind, this will be one of the more high-profile skinny bundles in which you won’t see ESPN, FS1, NBCSN or any of the league-owned networks.
AT&T already offers DirecTV Now, the streaming service that includes sports and has several tiers starting at $35/month, but Watch TV would not have any of the perks that DirecTV Now offers.
Watch TV would not have been offered had a federal judge not approved of the AT&T/Time Warner merger, but now that it has gone through, it’s expected that we will hear more about the service in the next few days.
Another sports-free skinny bundle, Philo, is available for $16/month, but does not have the Turner networks.
The sports networks are going to be watching this closely to see if these “very, very skinny” bundles will resonate with the public. If they are, then this could change how sports will be offered down the line. For now, Philo and Watch TV are more novelty than norm in the crowded streaming service field.