You have probably heard some variation of the expression, “There are two certainties in life: death and taxes.” While these two things are indeed certainties, I would argue that this idiom is far too exclusive. There are more certainties in life.
The Knicks will never win another NBA championship? Check.
I will never learn how to spell the word “occasionally,” despite having looked it up multiple times? Well it took me four attempts before I gave up and looked it up again, so check.
CBS will be the most watched network over the course of the television season? Seemingly, that’s also a check.
Once again, CBS attracted the most viewers this past season. This has been the case for several years in a row at this point. ABC, Fox, and NBC have been taking turns at the number two spot, but CBS is simply ahead of the game.
Why is this important? Ask the people who work at Directv Now, because they finally got CBS to agree to stream their content through the service.
The agreement between CBS and AT&T–Directv’s parent company–was reached last week.
You might be asking yourself
Directv Now launched a little less than a year ago. Since then, it’s trajectory has been solid, but admittedly nothing more than that. That’s to be expected for a younger service entering into an already saturated market. But it didn’t help that for a long time Directv Now had a relatively minimal amount of content available.
It was only recently that Now started adding accessibility to local stations. But even then, the stations were limited to ABC, Fox, and NBC affiliates. Sure, those networks offer an abundance of wonderful programming, but CBS is currently the white whale of the broadcast network market.
For those who don’t speak “Big Bang Theory,” that means this is a big deal.
Of course, Directv Now is still not available in every market. And it appears from the agreement that CBS content won’t be available through all of Now’s current markets. It *will* be available in some of the biggest markets, however, like Los Angeles and New York, along with twenty additional markets.
Not Just CBS
AT&T must be relieved that they finally were able to reach an agreement to gain access to CBS’ content, as that has been a source of frequent criticism directed at Now since the beginning.
However, there’s more.
CBS is not the only network being added to the Directv Now platform. Now is also adding programming from The CW, CBS Sports Network, Pop, and Showtime.
The CW and CBS will be available through all standard Directv Now packages. CBS Sports and Pop will only be available through select premium packages. As for Showtime, Directv Now customers will be asked to pay an additional $8 per month in order to add the premium movie channel. That’s actually less than the $10.99 per month that Showtime asks for their standalone, branded streaming service.
And then there is the fact that Directv Now is also expanding into even more local markets. ABC, Fox, and NBC affiliates in over 30 markets will be added to the platform in the near future. That will bring the total to over 80 markets.
AT&T is investing more time and energy into Directv Now. And it makes complete sense, considering the growing market for streaming services.
Recently, Directv Now reached 500,000 subscribers. That’s an impressive haul for a platform that isn’t even a year old. And the growth is fast; over 150,000 subscribers came in the last fiscal quarter alone.
It’s clear that AT&T is attempting to set itself apart with its strategy of including content from the major broadcast networks. Only Google’s nascent YouTube TV does something similar.
While shows from channels like AMC and HBO may eat up the column inches of entertainment blogs, the fact of the matter is that more Americans are watching shows from the major networks.
A lot of that disconnect is generational. One of the reasons CBS remains a ratings juggernaut is because it appeals to older audiences. You might have noticed that every CBS sitcom still uses a laugh track. The laugh track was abandoned by many sitcoms starting over a decade ago, but CBS still successfully runs with it. And CBS sure loves their police procedural dramas. These are staples of the older generation of television watchers.
Directv Now is going after that market to boost their platform, and doing so successfully.
Directv Now is not going away. It’s swiftly adding markets, content, and functionality.
AT&T is prepared to invest in the future of television. Are you?