AT&T reportedly interested in acquiring DirectTV to better compete against Comcast

AT&T reportedly interested in acquiring DirectTV to better compete against Comcast

AT&T is reportedly interested in acquiring satellite TV provider DirectTV. DirectTV is currently the second biggest U.S. pay TV provider, with roughly 20 million customers while AT&T's TV business reaches roughly 5.7 million. Combined, AT&T and DirectTV would be better positioned to compete against Comcast, especially when and if their Time Warner Cable buyout goes through. That's according to the Wall Street Journal:

Acquisition of DirecTV would give AT&T a national footprint in pay television at a time when the telecom company sees video delivery as core to its future. An acquisition would allow AT&T to offer bundles of wireless and TV services, and could give AT&T new ways to deliver video to its mobile and broadband customers.

If a deal is ever made — and it remains a big if — it's hard to tell whether or not it would help customers by providing better service and cheaper overall, bundled prices. Given the precarious state of net neutrality these days, and the U.S. government's willingness to entertain mergers like Comcast/Time Warner — not to mention Comcast/NBC Universal! — bigger might also end up meaning the opposite of better.

A future where internet companies are and own TV distribution, never mind networks and production companies, is the opposite of the dumb-pipe destinies many consumers long for.

AT&T buying DirectTV is just a rumor for now and a lot can happen between talks and deals being made and approved. In the meantime, let me know — how would you feel about AT&T owning DirectTV?

Source: Wall Street Journal

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Rene Ritchie

EiC of iMore, EP of Mobile Nations, Apple analyst, co-host of Debug, Iterate, Vector, Review, and MacBreak Weekly podcasts. Cook, grappler, photon wrangler. Follow him on Twitter and Google+.

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Reader comments

AT&T reportedly interested in acquiring DirectTV to better compete against Comcast


I will pay my early termination fee and leave DirecTV. I go out of my way to avoid ATT like the plague that it is. This is not welcomed new.

Y'all are quick to criticize this. DirecTV isn't an angel as the company stands already. Being acquired by AT&T isn't going to make them that much more evil. If this would cause you to cancel your service, why don't you take a look at DirecTV and the NFL's cartel-like partnership with their NFL Sunday ticket/much better version of the red zone channel. It's just as bad as them joining up with AT&T. And that's just hypothetical. DTV/NFL is real. I'd rather see DirecTV in conjuction with AT&T going up against the giant of Time Warner and Comcast.

I agree with you, but two wrongs (AT&T and DirecTV) don't make a right.

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I think it's a good thing. It gives directv more clout. And hopefully they'll advance even quicker on tech issues, getting more access to tv everywhere, and better pricing bundles.

I kind of like this idea not because of Ma Bell, but because I really want to see more competition out there stick it to Comcast. They have a monopoly on the Cable industry but yet no one dares to challenge them. Can't wait for Google Fiber to come to the Tri State.

DOJ will never allow it. Comcast buying TW is one thing (neither actually compete against each other in their respective markets). But AT&T buying Direct TV is a whole new issue. AT&T competes with Direct TV (along with Comcast, Time Warner, and Dish network) with its U Verse service. That's one less choice for consumers. It's bad enough we get only one choice for cable where these companies have virtual monopolies in their area like fiefdoms. Now there will one less satellite provider. Plus this gives AT&T two ways into your house, Direct TV or U Verse. Don't see it happening.