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Cable Technology Feature Article

March 18, 2013

AT&T Sweetens IPTV Pot with Xbox, Kindle Fire, Interactive U-verse TV Apps

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Looking to tap the connected TV viewer and then hang onto them, AT&T (News - Alert) U-verse has added two interactive TV applications for bundled customers: U-verse Jukebox, which allows users to play songs from a mobile device on a U-verse TV; and the Interactive Workout App, which turns a U-verse TV into a personal trainer, enabling users to create a customized workout. And, it is willing to throw in an Xbox or new tablet for new sign-ups.

For Jukebox, the Party feature allows subscribers to invite up to six friends to contribute songs to a dynamic playlist. Party guests can open the app on their own device, select "Join Party" and share tunes via the home theatre system.

Meanwhile, Interactive Workout allows users to select a target area or do a full-body workout, as well as track their progress. The app is available via the Go Interactive menu.

"Our goal with U-verse TV apps is to enhance the TV-watching experience in ways that complement or benefit our customers' lifestyles," said Maria Dillard, vice president of U-verse and video products for AT&T Home Solutions. "These apps make it easier for our customers to boost efficiency, entertainment and even their health with the devices they use the most. We know when customers use TV apps, they're more engaged and happier with their U-verse TV service, so we'll continue to bring more apps to customers that deliver more value and integration."

Each of these apps are available to U-verse IPTV (News - Alert) customers with broadband subscriptions. Customers can access these and other TV apps by selecting the Go Interactive button on the remote.

AT&T is trying to add additional value for U-verse subs that take more than one service from the telco – for obvious reasons. Multiplay customers are notoriously stickier than single-line of business subscribers. For AT&T, bundled customers are actually a big chunk of the sub base; in the fourth quarter of 2012, a full 90 percent of new U-verse TV customers also signed up for U-verse High Speed Internet.

Looking to keep up the good work, the telco is also running a promo for new double-play customers: households signing up for both TV and broadband between now and July 27 will have a choice of a free Xbox, Kindle Fire HD or Nexus 7 tablet or Sonos music system.

AT&T gained 609,000 U-verse High Speed Internet subscribers in Q4 to reach a total of 7.7 million, and also added 192,000 U-verse TV subs to total 4.54 million IPTV subscribers at the end of 2012. But, new features and promos may be key to continuing to attract customers going forward thanks to the price increases that kicked in at the beginning of the year. The telco has upped TV plans by $2 per month and broadband be $3 per month. In addition, it is also passing along retransmission fees that local TV affiliates charge it to carry broadcast content in the form of a $1.99 surcharge.

Edited by Allison Boccamazzo

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