AT&T is looking to kill (or at least compete with) Netflix, Hulu, and the many other popular streaming subscription services that are having a marked impact on the world's viewing habits.
The company has just announced that, with the help of The Chernin Group (Peter Chernin's holding company), they're going to invest at least $500 million into funding "a venture to acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top (OTT) video services."
"The strategic goal of this initiative will be to invest in advertising and subscription VOD channels as well as streaming services," said AT&T in a release.
And it appears that they feel pretty confident that there's room for them in the rapidly growing streaming space.
“AT&T and The Chernin Group are combining our skill sets to address the growing consumer demand for accessing content how and when they want it,” said John Stankey, Chief Strategy Officer at AT&T. “Combining our expertise in network infrastructure, mobile, broadband and video with The Chernin Group’s management and expertise in content, distribution, and monetization models in online video creates the opportunity for us to develop a compelling offering in the OTT space.”
Reading into AT&T's statements, it's not necessarily a sure thing that the company would build a Netflix-like streaming service from scratch. The venture is to "acquire" and "invest in," alongside the possible "launch." Either way, AT&T will have their hands in a pretty big video-on-demand project–or two or three. Broadcast television, as we know it, isn't what it used to be and probably never will be. This move shows that AT&T knows this, and is investing in what they see as the future - over-the-top video models.
Remember–AT&T tried to buy Hulu last summer.
It'll be hard to compete with the likes of Netflix, especially. Good things are happening over there, including solid earnings and subscriber gains. They are planning on charging new members a little more for a subscription, but it's not likely to ruffle too many feathers. Even with some mediocre offerings, Netflix and its original programming are the king of the hill right now.
Image via Wikimedia Commons