AT&T To Offer Free HBO To More Of Its Subscribers As Competition Heats Up

AT&T has announced that it is offering a free subscription to HBO to more wireless customers. Beginning Friday AT&T customers who are subscribed to the midmarket Unlimited Choice plan will receive HBO at no extra cost.

Earlier in the year the telecommunications giant started giving a free HBO subscription to customers enrolled on the Unlimited Plus plan which is more expensive. Also included in the offer is access to the online video package of DirecTV at only $10. Typically the 60-cable channel package usually retails for $35.

Acquisition approval

AT&T’s free offer of HBO comes at a time when the telecommunications giant is awaiting approval from regulators over its intended acquisition of Time Warner, HBO’s parent company. The chief executive officer of AT&T has previously said that Time Warner will be run independently of AT&T.

“I know very little about running a media company. Running a media and entertainment company is very different from running a communications company,” said Stephenson during a Goldman Sachs conference held in New York.

According to Stephenson the acquisition of Time Warner will increase revenues the telecommunications giant gets from advertising. There will also be cost savings generated from combining operations in areas such as information technology. The resulting entity will also use the data obtained on viewing habits and tastes to determine the areas where new investment in video content should be in.

New advertising platform

While AT&T’s intended acquisition of Time Warner has received approval from regulators in some markets, it is still waiting for a nod from regulators in Brazil as well as the Justice Department in the United States. Stephenson has disclosed that the approval process has been smooth so far and there have been no surprises.

In the near future the telecommunications giant intends to come up with a revamped advertising platform which will enable it to increase the revenues it generates from advertising by charging a premium on going rates. This will be made possible by the fact that its video ads will be targeted at specific customers who will stratified based on what they watch and their demographic information.

AT&T’s offer of a free HBO subscription comes in the wake of other wireless carriers in the United States using video streaming giveaways in order to attract cellular subscribers. Last week T-Mobile announced that it would be offering a free subscription to Netflix for customers who are on an unlimited family plan.