Link: It’s the Beginning of the End of Satellite TV in the US ☍

Shared on December 3, 2018

Ashley Rodriguez for Quartz:

“We’ve launched our last satellite,” John Donovan, CEO of AT&T Communications, said in a meeting with analysts on Nov. 29.

The AT&T executive effectively declared the end of the satellite-TV era with that statement. AT&T owns DirecTV, the US’s largest satellite company—and second largest TV provider overall, behind Comcast.

DirecTV will continue offering satellite-TV service—it had nearly 20 million satellite video subscribers as of September, per company filings. But the company will focus on growing its online video business instead, Donovan said. It has a new set-top box, where people can get the same TV service they’d get with satellite, through an internet-connected box they can install themselves. It expects that box to become a greater share of its new premium-TV service installations in the first half of 2019. It also sells cheaper, TV packages with fewer channels through its DirecTV Now and WatchTV streaming services, which work with many smart TVs and streaming media players like Roku and Amazon Fire TV devices.

I can’t say I’m surprised, as costs for a company running a satellite TV service can start to add up, especially when they happen to own other kinds of infrastructure or can piggyback on any Internet connection. Cable companies loved running smear campaigns against satellite, but as someone who grew up with it in both the large C-band dish forms and later with DirecTV’s current product before jumping around with a few streaming services, it generally worked pretty well and can exist in areas where cable TV service may not. The trend to streaming can’t be ignored, but I’m sure AT&T wishes they had paid attention to this prior to dropping $49 billion on a slowly sinking ship.

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