AT&T opened its new $5-per-month video streaming service, Fullscreen, this week in an effort to attract more customers from the elusive millennial generation.
The service follows competitor Verizon’s Go90 streaming video service, also pitched toward millennials, which launched last fall. But unlike Verizon’s free, advertising-backed service, AT&T chose to charge for Fullscreen. While AT&T (T) will market the service to its own wireless and TV customers, anyone can subscribe.
AT&T also went its own way with content. Fullscreen, which as the name implies can be watched on full-size television sets as well as mobile devices, includes full-length movies and TV shows like The Breakfast Club and Dawson’s Creek. Verizon’s Go90, with a name inspired by flipping a phone 90 degrees to watch videos, is focused mainly on shorter clips viewable on mobile devices.
Fullscreen’s selection, curated to appeal to people between the ages of 13 to 30, includes mostly lesser-known fare like Camp Takota, a 2014 movie starring three women popular on YouTube, but some older hits are mixed in, such as episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Dawson’s Creek. Fullscreen will also commission original series and talk shows.
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Fullscreen clearly draws inspiration from Google’s (GOOGL) YouTube and popular messaging app Snapchat, says Neil Shah, director at Counterpoint Research.
“It’s YouTube on steroids and nicely complements AT&T’s DirectTV offerings, which has the traditional TV and movie content,” Shah explains. “Fullscreen can also be thought of as Snapchat of the video industry.”
The company was started in 2011 by former YouTube executive George Strompolos. AT&T and the Chernin Group, run by former News Corp president Peter Cherin, bought a majority stake in 2014 through their joint venture, Otter Media.
Fullscreen’s app includes features popular on Snapchat that are designed to meet the millennial desire for sharing and reposting video, such as a GIF creator and the ability to add comments on top of images, Shah notes. The service will initially be available on the iPhone and iPad, some Android devices, and the Chromecast dongle that connects to full-size TV sets.
Still, attracting millennials away from their established favorites is no easy task. Go90 has not attracted many users compared to the current favorites, UBS analyst John Hodulik noted last month. Verizon (VZ) CFO Fran Shammo told analysts last week that the service is “in the very early stages of gaining traction and engagement.”