AT&T’s DirecTV Now Tries Luring Subscribers With Free HBO

March 20, 2017, 10:59 PM UTC
AT&T Celebrates the Launch of DIRECTV NOW
Photo by Dave Kotinsky—Getty Images for DirecTV

AT&T is hoping that promotions can keep bringing in new subscribers for the DirecTV Now live-streaming television service.

The telecoms giant recently announced that, for a limited time, customers can receive a full year of HBO for no additional cost if they sign up for one of DirecTV Now’s two pricier subscription tiers. That means savings of $60 for the full year—HBO usually costs an extra $5 per month for DirecTV Now subscribers. The catch? It only applies to either the Go Big channel tier (which offers 100 channels for $60 per month) or for the Gotta Have It option (120 channels for $70 per month).

The offer is just the latest in a seemingly endless parade of offers trying to lure television viewers towards the over-the-top service and away from cable packages. For example, in a separate promotion, the company is also offering customers a free Apple TV streaming device if they pay upfront for three months of DirecTV Now service. AT&T also previously offered the bundled HBO promotion to existing customers, before announcing on a company forum over the weekend that the deal is now open to new customers, too.

And when DirecTV Now launched in November, AT&T offered a limited promotion that gave introductory subscribers access to 100 channels for just $35 per month—a push that helped the service pull in more than 200,000 subscribers in its first month.


The HBO promotional offer comes as AT&T (T) continues to move closer to obtaining regulatory approval for its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner(TWX), which owns HBO along with a host of other media assets. That merger, as well as the launch of DirecTV Now, are part of AT&T’s ongoing plan to embrace vertical integration as a wireless provider that is also a giant in the areas of content production and distribution. (That plan also includes something called “zero rating,” where DirecTV Now subscribers with AT&T wireless service are able to stream an unlimited about of video from DirecTV Now without it affecting their data limit.)

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These promotions and bundles are also meant to better help AT&T compete with a growing list of rivals in the live-streaming TV field, where Dish Network’s (DISH) Sling TV and Sony’s (SNE) Playstation Vue have already been active for some time. Just last month, Google (GOOG) entered the fray with its own live-TV online subscription service called YouTube TV, while Hulu (which is backed by several major broadcast networks) is set to launch its competing service in the coming months.