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AT&T to give free TV service to unlimited plans customers
- AT&T plans to offer its unlimited smartphone customers a new streaming TV service for free starting sometime next week.
- The service, called AT&T Watch TV, will offer content from the Turner family of cable networks that the carrier now owns.
- The service will also be available for non-AT&T customers for $15 a month.
AT&T completed its $85 billion purchase of Time Warner earlier this week, and the carrier looks like it will waste no time in offering content from the media company to its smartphone subscribers. The CEO of AT&T, Randall Stephenson, announced that the carrier’s unlimited data customers will be able to access a new and free streaming TV service starting sometime next week.
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Speaking to CNBC, Stephenson said the service would be called AT&T Watch TV, and that it would offer entertainment content from the Turner cable TV networks that AT&T now owns as part of its acquisition of Time Warner.
Stephenson said that the service would not include any of Turner’s sports programming. That likely means it will have shows and content from cable TV networks like TNT, TBS, TCM, Cartoon Network/Adult Swim (cheers for Rick and Morty), Boomerang and TruTV. The new service will still run ads, according to Stephenson, and will also be available for anyone else to check out for $15 a month.
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AT&T’s unlimited plans already give those customers free HBO service, along with a $15 credit that can be used for AT&T’s DirecTV NOW live streaming TV service, which starts at $35 a month. It’s unclear if this new AT&T Watch TV service will replace one of those options, or be added to the existing offers.
AT&T’s deal to buy Time Warner will also have other, immediate, effects on that company. The first is a name change: Time Warner is now officially WarnerMedia, according to an internal memo that was reported by the New York Times. 30-year AT&T veteran John Stankey is now the head of WarnerMedia, which covers HBO, Turner and WarnerBros. John Martin, the CEO of the Turner division, is leaving the company. In an interview with Bloomberg, Stankey stated that one of the first changes that will be made is an increase for funding original content for HBO, so that it can keep up with the tons of original shows and movies that are released from streaming-only rivals like Netflix.