AT&T executive talks DirecTV Now’s early performance issues, goals for 2017

Earlier today, YouTube’s foray into the streaming cable bundle market was officially unveiled earlier today, offering the “big four” networks and unlimited DVR at $35 per month. YouTube’s solution, of course is meant to be a competitor to existing services like DirecTV Now.

Just prior to the announcement of YouTube TV, though, AT&T executive Tony Goncalves talked the future of DirecTV Now in an interview with The Information.

Goncalves explained in the interview that the primary focus for the service in 2017 is improving stability. DirecTV Now has suffered from a handful of performance issues since its initial launch, including poor streaming performance, unstable apps, and more. Goncalves claims that these issues were due to “pure volume,” but that things are improving:

“What happened with DirecTV Now was pure volume, to be quite honest. It’s live television at scale and we had more customers in the early days than some of these services got in a year. Yes, we are seeing some material improvements in the stability of the platform.”

Additionally, Goncalves touched on whether or not DirecTV Now was profitable. Though he didn’t directly say one way or another, he strongly implied that it wasn’t profitable at this point. Goncalves explained that AT&T doesn’t look at DirecTV Now as its own service, but rather an extension of other services, such as a mobile package.

When asked how AT&T was balancing the original DirecTV and DirecTV Now, Goncalves explained that the people currently subscribing to the latter service are ones that wouldn’t otherwise be in the TV ecosystem.

“If we look at the data coming back on who’s subscribing, it’s not the low-value consumer or cost seeker—it’s the consumer who is tech-savvy, younger, lives more so in a multi-dwelling unit than a single-family home.”

Unfortunately, Goncalves didn’t touch too heavily on future features for DirecTV Now, such as support for DVR. Nevertheless, it’s notable enough that some of the performance issues that plagued the service early on are finally being resolved.

Apple at one point was said to be developing its own streaming TV service, but nothing has come of those rumors and it was most recently reported that Apple had dropped the idea.

Are you a DirecTV Now subscriber? If so, what do you think of the service? Are you tempted by YouTube TV? Let us know in the comments.

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