AT&T has closed AT&T WatchTV, its $15-a-month streaming service, to new subscribers, and old customers who want to re-subscribe.
In a notice posted at its web site, AT&T says service will not be affected for existing WatchTV subscribers.
“Standalone WatchTV is no longer available for new sign ups or to re-subscribe,” the statement reads. “Existing WatchTV customers who subscribe to the app or have a qualifying AT&T Unlimited plan can continue to use the service. Customers on a qualifying AT&T Unlimited plan with the WatchTV benefit can create an account here.”
AT&T launched WatchTV two years ago as part of its effort to reach the growing cord-cutting audience. The online service offers 35 live cable channels, mostly AT&T-owned networks such as Turner Classic Movies, CNN, TNT, and TBS. It was started primarily to serve a mobile audience, but it is available on some TV-based streaming devices such as Amazon’s Fire TV and certain Android TVs.
WatchTV has been available for free in certain AT&T phone plans, but AT&T pared that list to the Unlimited plan last October.
The decision to close WatchTV to new customers is similar to AT&T’s decision last April to stop selling U-verse to new customers. U-verse, a traditional pay TV service, is still available to existing subscribers, but you can no longer sign up. (Note: U-verse still has roughly four million subscribers.)
AT&T recently has been taking steps to streamline its TV business, including an announcement that it will shutter HBO Go on July 31. The company has also been rumored to be interested in selling DIRECTV.
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— Phillip Swann