AT&T Seizes Opportunity in the Over-the-Top Market



Opportunities in the over-the-top market

Earlier in this series, we learned that AT&T (T) was rewarded with some rich sports content and networks when it acquired DIRECTV (DTV). We also learned about DIRECTV’s significant pay-TV subscriber base and how this may strengthen AT&T’s bargaining power with media networks, helping it get better content terms.

These content cost benefits may also help AT&T in the OTT (over-the-top) service market.

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Otter Media joint venture

According to the company, “AT&T is also developing unique video offerings for consumers through, among other initiatives, its Otter Media joint venture with The Chernin Group. The joint venture was established to invest in, acquire and launch over-the-top, OTT, video services.”

Otter Media has a controlling stake in Fullscreen—the online media company that produces video for Google’s (GOOG) YouTube. According to AT&T’s merger press release on July 24, 2015, Fullscreen has 50,000 content creators and 450 million subscribers. And it gets 4 billion monthly page views.

About the over-the-top market in the US

The US over-the-top market includes key players such as Netflix (NFLX), Amazon (AMZN) Instant Prime, and Hulu Plus. For more on this topic, read Online Video Streaming: Rapidly Changing How We Watch TV.

Based on a SunTrust Robinson Humphrey and SurveyMonkey survey of 1,500 US respondents aged 13 years and above, more than half have used Netflix. About 30% have used Amazon Instant Prime, and 11% have used Hulu Plus.

For diversified exposure to AT&T, you might consider the iShares Russell 3000 ETF (IWV). IWV had ~0.8% exposure to the telecom company as of June 30, 2015. You might also consider the SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY). SPY had ~1% invested in the integrated telecom company on the same date.


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