DirecTV Now, a cable substitute for cord cutters is continuing to add more of the channels that people really clamor for. Their local broadcast channels. In a bit of irony, for all of the choices that cable provides, it is the handful of major network affiliates that still command the largest audiences week in and week out and that isn’t even counting the huge ratings for NFL football, which is by far the most pro sport without cable.
Why is this? While niche viewing like the science channel, SYFY or The Food Network is certainly popular it is shows like The Big Bang Theory and Dancing With The Stars that really drive the ratings. Another big draw of local TV is the ability to stay connected to the overall community through local news, especially in emergency situations. So when cable-like skinny bundle packages started launching with offerings from Viacom, Time Warner and other MVPDs the public at large could be forgiven for feeling the need to play wait and see. That is why the big push ahead of the fall TV rollout is key.
“We’re giving DIRECTV NOW customers more live local channels to stay connected, with more channels coming,” said Daniel York, senior executive vice president, and chief content officer – AT&T Entertainment Group.
With the expansion streamers in nearly 70% of U.S. TV households can now watch their local channels including local ABC, FOX and NBC stations in the 7 largest metros – Chicago, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. DirecTV Now also launched CBS in a number of markets just in time for football season.
While the reach is not universal the continued expansion of local access could play a large role in what services end up on top of the heap in the end and which ones get smothered out. DirecTV Now currently has over 500,000 subscribers. Will more local channel options in major population centers entice more to give it a try? We’ll see.