Directv Now Expands Its Local Reach

What’s a standard gripe you hear about satellite television providers? It usually has to do with the lack of access to local channels.

If you live in Boise, Idaho, you want to be able to watch the news concerning Boise, Idaho. Of course, you *could* always read the local newspaper.

I’m sorry, I don’t know what got into me with that suggestion.

The lack of local channel access was more of a problem in the past. In the present, things are different. When you order a Directv package, you can usually get your local channels included.

However, history has a peculiar habit of repeating itself. Such is the case with Directv.

Or at least with a particular product associated with Directv. That product is Directv Now, Directv’s streaming service.

Directv Now has proved to be popular with cord cutters. But even cord cutters want to know what’s going on in their respective communities. Directv Now, unfortunately, wasn’t an ideal fit for many of these consumers.

It wasn’t an ideal fit, until now.

Seeing Double

Earlier this month, it was announced that Directv Now would more than double the amount of local channels available through its platform. This includes ABC, Fox, and NBC affiliates.

By expanding its reach, Directv Now will now feature local programming in several markets that it could not before. These markets include–but are not limited to–Atlanta, Salt Lake City, Milwaukee, and Boston. Not every affiliate is available in every market.

These are, of course, major markets that have high populations. With this expansion, it’s estimated that Directv can now offer at least some local channels in approximately 70% of American households.

This expansion is incomplete. Daniel York, the chief content officer at AT&T (Directv’s parent company), asserts that the list of local channels will triple by the end of August. It will triple in relation to the selection that was available when Directv Now launched back in November 2016.

But Where Is CBS?

Of course, you may noticed a conspicuous omission from the previous section. When I mentioned ABC, Fox, and NBC affiliates, the omission of CBS was *not* an oversight.

None of the new markets will provide access to CBS. None of the old markets have access to CBS affiliates for that matter either.

There’s no doubt in my mind that Directv would love to include access to CBS affiliates for its customers. CBS, after all, is home to some of the highest rated shows on television (“The Big Bang Theory” and “NCIS” in particular).

This is most likely going to stay the same for the foreseeable future, and this is because CBS doesn’t want to compete with itself. Currently, CBS offers CBS All Access, a streaming service for its own content. The platform is available in the majority of American markets.

The Future

So anytime a business makes such an aggressive expansion, you have to conjure the phrase that many a freshman philosophy student has conjured, “What does it all mean?”

In this particular case, I think it’s fair to say that this means AT&T is serious about developing Directv Now into a competitive platform.

And why shouldn’t they? Like it or not, it’s unlikely that cord cutting is just a phase. But whereas many businesses fund campaigns to deter a societal change that may prove to be detrimental, Directv is taking the smart approach of actually embracing that change.

To be clear, there’s no reason to believe that Directv is dismissing its traditional packages. They’re simply embracing product diversity, which usually is a good idea.

Directv Now is still very much a new product, and as such, the concept has not been fully-formed. One could argue in the technological market, no concept should *ever* be fully-formed. There’s always room for improvement. One such area for improvement could be the addition of an equipped DVR system. If you comb through the customer reviews of Now, you’ll find that that is a common assessment.

But the addition of local channels could be a monumental move in Now’s trajectory. Some market analysts believe that the expansion is an effort to boost leads to bundle packages through the satellite provider. If that’s true, it very well could be effective.


Of course, it’s too soon to tell. Like most business decisions, the results can’t really be known for months on end. Just like watching a little league softball game, business can require a ton of patience.

Directv Now, however, seems to be displaying no such patience with this local market expansion. And for many television fans across the country, it could change the way they view television.