DirecTV undermining satellite TV subs?

Offering NFL Sunday Ticket service via broadband, mobile

NEW YORK -- Will DirecTV undermine its core satellite TV subscriptions business by offering its popular NFL Sunday Ticket service via broadband and mobile devices-only for consumers who say they aren't capable of subscribing to the sat TV services?

BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield on Monday played agent provocateur, saying he tried signing up for the $350 NFL Sunday Ticket To Go broadband and mobile plan by making up an address to see whether people even in markets where DirecTV is easily available could get the service.

"The simple answer is it is incredibly easy and only takes a couple of minutes," he said. "While we suspect DirecTV will run random spot checks, we sense the company is not particularly worried about people doing what we did, as most consumers will want the Sunday Ticket television package, which has no incremental cost if you subscribe to DirecTV."

Greenfield said consumers could use the technique to stay with their cable provider, while also adding the NFL content package from DirecTV in digital form. "As bandwidth improves, the danger is that DirecTV is offering a near TV-like Sunday Ticket experience to consumers all across the country and diminishing the importance of subscribing to the DirecTV video service," he argued.

"We are aware that some people might take this approach and have a plan and processes in place to mitigate risks to our overall Sunday Ticket product," a DirecTV spokesman told The Hollywood Reporter. "However, we don't discuss specifics of our operational procedures."
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