- Pandora partnered with AT&T to offer a music streaming service as part of the wireless carrier's premium mobile subscriptions, according to an announcement shared with Mobile Marketer. Beginning June 26, AT&T's 142 million mobile subscribers will have access to Pandora Premium as part of the carrier's Unlimited & More Premium wireless plan, which costs $80 a month and includes a suite of live-TV channels, according to Billboard.
- Pandora is building on recently announced partnerships with Snap, Fitbit, Amazon Fire TV, Xbox, LinkFire and Cheddar TV to focus on growing its user base by connecting with mass audiences through multiple brands, delivery platforms and channels. Pandora Premium typically costs $9.99 a month for unlimited, ad-free music streaming.
- AT&T also announced the launch of a second streaming TV service called WatchTV as a lower-cost alternative to its DirecTV service, per TechCrunch. WatchTV can be bundled with AT&T wireless plans and later will be offered as a standalone service for $15 a month. The service offers channels like A&E, AMC, CNN, Discovery, Food Network, Lifetime and TNT. Premium services like HBO and Showtime can be added for an additional fee.
For Pandora, the partnership with AT&T is a chance to build its user base as the company looks to fend off growing competition from Apple Music and Spotify, which offer ad-free, on-demand music plans. Pandora increased its paid subscriber base 19% to 5.63 million in Q1 2018 from a year earlier, according to Engadget, but the company faces competition even on AT&T's new Unlimited & More Premium plan, as subscribers can instead choose Amazon Music Unlimited for ad-free, on-demand songs. The move comes just weeks after Pandora enlisted P&G as the sponsor for its new premium family plan.
Meanwhile, AT&T's new over-the-top (OTT) service WatchTV will be available on almost every smartphone and other streaming device, the company said. The bundling of content with wireless subscriptions will likely be a key strategy to compete with Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile. The four companies have recently been locked in a heated battle to offer "unlimited" data plans at varying price points, which makes streaming video and music a key selling point for many consumers.
AT&T's new video streaming platform gives advertisers another platform to reach mass audiences that have shifted their viewing habits to mobile and digital alternatives while cutting the cord on their cable-TV subscriptions. The telecom giant appears to be making good on its promise to federal authorities that tried to block its $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner to offer a low-cost "skinny bundle" of channels that give mobile subscribers another reason to part ways with cable TV.