AT&T CEO Eyes Sports, Short-Form Content to Drive Mobile Video Usage

"Sports will be critical," he tells the 41st Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference.

NEW YORK – AT&T expects demand for short-form and sports content on mobile devices to grow and drive video usage there, chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson said here Tuesday.

"Sports will be critical," he told the 41st Annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference. Highlighting that most of the sports leagues have been looking to give fans more access to their games or games highlights on mobile devices, he said that Major League Baseball "has done the most in terms of leveraging the mobile platform."

He predicted that the industry would see "multiple models" of making content available on mobile, with different leagues likely to try different approaches. "We're having a lot of discus in this areas right now," Stephenson said without providing further details.

On Monday, Verizon boss Lowell McAdam had told the UBS conference that his firm was looking at mobile sports content, expressing an interest in such things as out-of-market football games.

Stephenson on Tuesday also said that short-form content will be a key draw for consumers on mobile devices. He said AT&T has been looking at "what kind of short-form content will be most relevant."

Overall, the AT&T said that video consumption would be "the next big growth driver" for mobile companies. 

Stephenson also touted the pay TV subscriber growth of AT&T's U-Verse service at a time when cable companies continue to lose subscribers. "We are the fastest-growing TV service in the U.S. now," he said, adding he expects more growth ahead.

Twitter: @georgszalai