“DIRECTV Now” adds… what now?

Well, ok. More channels are better I guess. DIRECTV yesterday announced that their new streaming service, which will be formally revealed next Monday, has a few new channels. It looks like the Fox stable of channels will be included, which is good news, but chances are you’ve never heard of these two:

“Comedy.TV” and “JusticeCentral.TV” are already available to DIRECTV customers on channels 382 and 383. They’re not exactly must-watch experiences, but if there’s nothing else on in the middle of the night and you don’t feel like streaming, they might be serviceable entertainment. Hey, I don’t judge.

These same channels are going to be available to streaming customers as part of the upcoming “DIRECTV Now” service which promises 100 channels for about $35.00. So far the full channel lineup isn’t known, but it’s believed that Fox, NBC/Universal, Scripps (the HGTV people), Disney/ABC/ESPN, and Viacom are all on board. So far there’s no indication of whether or not CBS will join the party.

CBS has been going it alone for some time. They are the only major network whose current content isn’t on Hulu, and they ask customers to sign up for their own “CBS All Access” app instead. This app was expected to get a real bump from the upcoming series Star Trek: Discovery which was to be streaming-only, but that series has been delayed until next summer at the earliest.

I have nothing against these two channels, as I said they’re fine for late-night staring contests, but this is not what I think of as a must-have channel, and it’s not going to be a make-or-break for anyone considering cutting the cord.

I have confidence that the DIRECTV Now product is going to do well in the marketplace, succeeding where similar products have failed. AT&T has a strong internet backbone so I don’t expect a lot of streaming problems, and other than this most recent announcement I think they’ve been on the right track in adding high-value content. My concern is that DIRECTV Now could get bogged down with the same kind of shopping channel/infomercial/lower-tier type programming that people complain about on the satellite service. Even though these channels do add value and usually don’t cost anyone much at all, they’re perceived by many as unnecessary fluff.

We’ll all find out more on Monday at the press event. I won’t be there (I’m guessing my invitation was lost in the mail) but I’ll give you my news and views as soon as I can.