Consumer Advocates Say AT&T’s Planned ‘Skinny Bundle’ Falls Short Of Addressing Concerns

AT&T plans to launch a “skinny bundle” of television channels for consumers at a cost of just $15 a month — a streaming TV service that would rank among the nation’s cheapest.
Chief Executive Randall Stephenson revealed plan…

AT&T plans to launch a “skinny bundle” of television channels for consumers at a cost of just $15 a month — a streaming TV service that would rank among the nation’s cheapest. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson revealed plans for the service, to be called AT&T Watch, in testimony last week in the high-profile antitrust case. The proposed offering, which appears intended to allay concerns that its ownership of Time Warner would hurt consumers and competition. AT&T Watch…

AT&T Boss Randall Stephenson Reveals New ‘Watch’ Streaming Service During DOJ Testimony

Who needs a press conference? On Thursday, AT&T boss Randall Stephenson unveiled details about a new streaming bundle while testifying against the federal government in his Time Warner takeover case.

AT&T’s “Watch” will cost $15 per month and is set to debut within weeks, Stephenson said from the witness stand. Compare that with the media giant’s DirecTV Now service, which runs $35 monthly.

Skinny bundle “Watch” is able to stay relatively inexpensive due to the fact that it does not contain any sports channels. It will be available to anyone, but free for AT&T Unlimited wireless customers.

Also Read: Who Is Winning in DoJ’s Case Against AT&T-Time Warner?

Stephenson’s surprise announcement came about as a defense against the government’s assertion that allowing AT&T to buy Time Warner would cause price hikes for consumers. The executive assured the judge in the antitrust case that AT&T would not cease innovation should he allow the $85 billion deal to go through.

The United States Department of Justice has already rested its case against the pending AT&T-Time Warner merger. This week has been Time Warner and AT&T’s turns to justify their shared plans. Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes took the stand on Wednesday — read about his testimony here.

Representatives for AT&T did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jeff Bewkes Says DOJ’s Key Antitrust Argument Against AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is ‘Ridiculous’

Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the U.S. Gov’s Lawsuit to Kill the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

The ‘Star Wars’ Defense: Feds, AT&T and Time Warner Bicker in Juicy Pretrial Filings

Who needs a press conference? On Thursday, AT&T boss Randall Stephenson unveiled details about a new streaming bundle while testifying against the federal government in his Time Warner takeover case.

AT&T’s “Watch” will cost $15 per month and is set to debut within weeks, Stephenson said from the witness stand. Compare that with the media giant’s DirecTV Now service, which runs $35 monthly.

Skinny bundle “Watch” is able to stay relatively inexpensive due to the fact that it does not contain any sports channels. It will be available to anyone, but free for AT&T Unlimited wireless customers.

Stephenson’s surprise announcement came about as a defense against the government’s assertion that allowing AT&T to buy Time Warner would cause price hikes for consumers. The executive assured the judge in the antitrust case that AT&T would not cease innovation should he allow the $85 billion deal to go through.

The United States Department of Justice has already rested its case against the pending AT&T-Time Warner merger. This week has been Time Warner and AT&T’s turns to justify their shared plans. Time Warner boss Jeff Bewkes took the stand on Wednesday — read about his testimony here.

Representatives for AT&T did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on this story.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Jeff Bewkes Says DOJ's Key Antitrust Argument Against AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is 'Ridiculous'

Here's Everything You Need to Know About the U.S. Gov's Lawsuit to Kill the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

The 'Star Wars' Defense: Feds, AT&T and Time Warner Bicker in Juicy Pretrial Filings

AT&T Boss Defends Time Warner Against “Absurd” Government Claims

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson took the witness stand this afternoon, appearing in a Washington federal court as the final defense witness in the five-week antitrust trial over the mobile giant’s pending merger with Time Warner.
Ridiculing the D…

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson took the witness stand this afternoon, appearing in a Washington federal court as the final defense witness in the five-week antitrust trial over the mobile giant’s pending merger with Time Warner. Ridiculing the Department of Justice complaints as “absurd,” the bespectacled 58-year-old architect of the deal defended it as a necessary measure by two traditional companies facing unprecedented competition from tech rivals. By joining forces, he…

Peter Bart: Scaling Up Through Mergers No Fun Anymore For Moguls

The time has come to augment the endangered species list, with Hollywood media moguls as the latest entries. They used to be the loudest voices in the room, but now you need a scorecard to figure out who’s in charge of what.
Consider this week: The CEO…

The time has come to augment the endangered species list, with Hollywood media moguls as the latest entries. They used to be the loudest voices in the room, but now you need a scorecard to figure out who's in charge of what. Consider this week: The CEOs of AT&T and Time Warner took the stand in federal court to slam the Justice Department for opposing their vaunted merger (what will be the fate of CNN and HBO?). Les Moonves must audition again for the (dubious?) privilege…

AT&T Exec John Stankey Testifies “Battle” For Viewer Attention Sparked Time Warner Bid

After sitting in Courtroom 18 of the U.S. District Court in Washington for the past month, AT&T exec John Stankey finally had his chance to testify late today about the motivation behind the companies’ $85 billion merger.
“The market we are competing in is for time and attention,” he said under direct questioning from lead defense attorney Daniel Petrocelli. “Facebook, Google, Netflix — they are all distracting people from other things they used to do” like tune in linear…

After sitting in Courtroom 18 of the U.S. District Court in Washington for the past month, AT&T exec John Stankey finally had his chance to testify late today about the motivation behind the companies’ $85 billion merger. “The market we are competing in is for time and attention,” he said under direct questioning from lead defense attorney Daniel Petrocelli. “Facebook, Google, Netflix — they are all distracting people from other things they used to do” like tune in linear…

Jeff Bewkes Says DOJ’s Key Antitrust Argument Against AT&T-Time Warner Merger Is ‘Ridiculous’

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes testified on Wednesday in DC District Court, saying the Department of Justice’s assertion that a merger with AT&T would allow the mega-company to blackout pay-TV operators as a negotiating ploy is “ridiculous.”

“If our channels are not in distribution we lose lots of money (from subscriptions and advertising),” he said while defending the potential $85.4 billion merger against the government’s antitrust arguments, according to a Reuters report.

The DOJ had previously warned District Judge Richard Leon — the sole decider in whether the deal goes through — that a combined AT&T-Time Warner would allow the company to raise licensing fees and blackout pay-TV operators in the midst of negotiations.

Bewkes believes that makes no sense.

Also Read: Who Is Winning in DOJ’s Case Against AT&T-Time Warner?

The Time Warner CEO offered up as evidence that less than 2 percent of subscribers jump ship in the event of a blackout, something that is not uncommon during carriage fee negotiations. Blackouts in pay-TV happen occasionally when operators and distributors can’t agree to terms.

Last week, economists for both sides argued over one of the lynchpins in the DOJ’s case against AT&T-Time Warner, which is an arbitration provision the companies agreed to.

The arbitration provision essentially says that AT&T won’t black out Time Warner channels during negotiations with carriers, and it requires the combined company to enlist an arbiter to use fair market value to determine prices for things like licensing fees.

So yeah, this blackout thing is a big issue.

Also Read: Here’s Everything You Need to Know About the U.S. Gov’s Lawsuit to Kill the AT&T-Time Warner Merger

But it’s not the only one — and Time Warner isn’t exactly without concern for the future itself.

The pending merger is in Time Warner’s best interest, Bewkes said today in court, and a way for the company to combat the impact it feels from the likes of Google, Facebook and other Internet companies.

Bewkes explained that Time Warner has been at a disadvantage in innovating and advertising because of the lack of granular information about the viewers that pay-TV and Internet companies have. You know, like the Facebook data news you simply cannot avoid these days.

The government has rested its case, but AT&T-Time Warner still have plenty left to say. The trial goes on.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Court Rejects AT&T’s Request to See White House Emails on Time Warner Acquisition

Turner CEO John Martin ‘Hopeful’ Time Warner-AT&T Merger Will Go Through

Will Disney-Fox Deal Face Antitrust Challenge From Trump Administration Like AT&T-Time Warner?

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes testified on Wednesday in DC District Court, saying the Department of Justice’s assertion that a merger with AT&T would allow the mega-company to blackout pay-TV operators as a negotiating ploy is “ridiculous.”

“If our channels are not in distribution we lose lots of money (from subscriptions and advertising),” he said while defending the potential $85.4 billion merger against the government’s antitrust arguments, according to a Reuters report.

The DOJ had previously warned District Judge Richard Leon — the sole decider in whether the deal goes through — that a combined AT&T-Time Warner would allow the company to raise licensing fees and blackout pay-TV operators in the midst of negotiations.

Bewkes believes that makes no sense.

The Time Warner CEO offered up as evidence that less than 2 percent of subscribers jump ship in the event of a blackout, something that is not uncommon during carriage fee negotiations. Blackouts in pay-TV happen occasionally when operators and distributors can’t agree to terms.

Last week, economists for both sides argued over one of the lynchpins in the DOJ’s case against AT&T-Time Warner, which is an arbitration provision the companies agreed to.

The arbitration provision essentially says that AT&T won’t black out Time Warner channels during negotiations with carriers, and it requires the combined company to enlist an arbiter to use fair market value to determine prices for things like licensing fees.

So yeah, this blackout thing is a big issue.

But it’s not the only one — and Time Warner isn’t exactly without concern for the future itself.

The pending merger is in Time Warner’s best interest, Bewkes said today in court, and a way for the company to combat the impact it feels from the likes of Google, Facebook and other Internet companies.

Bewkes explained that Time Warner has been at a disadvantage in innovating and advertising because of the lack of granular information about the viewers that pay-TV and Internet companies have. You know, like the Facebook data news you simply cannot avoid these days.

The government has rested its case, but AT&T-Time Warner still have plenty left to say. The trial goes on.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Court Rejects AT&T's Request to See White House Emails on Time Warner Acquisition

Turner CEO John Martin 'Hopeful' Time Warner-AT&T Merger Will Go Through

Will Disney-Fox Deal Face Antitrust Challenge From Trump Administration Like AT&T-Time Warner?

Time Warner Boss Jeff Bewkes Pushes Back At What DOJ Is “Missing”

Under cross-examination by a Department of Justice attorney, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes hit back at repeated suggestions that the company has been growing its TV ad revenues even before pursuing the AT&T merger.
“What you’re missing is that the competition for advertising isn’t just about television,” he told DOJ attorney Claude Scott during his third hour of this afternoon. “If digital advertisers are able to target consumers with messages delivered through search or…

Under cross-examination by a Department of Justice attorney, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes hit back at repeated suggestions that the company has been growing its TV ad revenues even before pursuing the AT&T merger. “What you’re missing is that the competition for advertising isn’t just about television,” he told DOJ attorney Claude Scott during his third hour of this afternoon. “If digital advertisers are able to target consumers with messages delivered through search or…