What a difference five years makes, right? For evidence, I point you to this article from October, 2016. In it, I pondered the idea that the “DIRECTV” name might be going away. It was inspired by other articles written at the time, and also from some insider information. At the time, DIRECTV was part of what was called the “AT&T Entertainment Group.” That group also included the streaming product, called DIRECTV NOW at the time, which hadn’t quite launched yet. It also included the largely moribund U-Verse product, which surprisingly still exists today.
The view from back then
In those days, things looked rosy for AT&T’s stewardship of DIRECTV. The term “AT&T Entertainment Group” didn’t bother me a bit. And you know what, it still doesn’t, even though it doesn’t exist anymore. I personally think the DIRECTV brand and the name is very strong, as I did then. On the other hand, so is the AT&T name, although it has suffered a bit lately.
Although, as it happens, there really never was a name change for the satellite product. The streaming product changed its name in 2019 to “AT&T TV NOW” and then to “AT&T TV,” but that name change never came to DIRECTV boxes. The closest it came was a lot of AT&T globe branding on DIRECTV hardware.
And now, it’s all DIRECTV
Of course, in 2021 DIRECTV spun off from AT&T. Although AT&T is still the primary owner, operational control is now separate from AT&T and the balance sheets are separate. Along the way, AT&T TV was rebranded as DIRECTV Stream — its fourth name in five years — and the DIRECTV name is really ascendant at this point.
Forget about Throwback, let’s Flashforward
I have a vision of what DIRECTV will look like in 2027 when I write the next Throwback Thursday article on this subject. There will probably be two or more new versions of the Genie DVR, or even possibly a whole new generation beyond that. There will be tight integration between the streaming and satellite products, and the company will keep a lid on costs so that people don’t think of pay-TV as overpriced. (It isn’t, really.)
I think when we look back, we’ll see that five years of smart decisions have put DIRECTV back in a leadership position. And, when it comes to the term “AT&T Entertainment,” we’ll just look at that period in time as something we’d all rather forget.