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AT&T buys streaming partner to deliver TV ‘however, whenever, and wherever’

Earlier this year, AT&T unveiled plans to introduce three new DirecTV streaming options: DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile, and DirecTV Preview. These plans will offer customers a lower-cost option to DirecTV’s traditional satellite packages, and will also offer more compete to Sling TV and PlayStation Vue for internet TV subscribers. Now the company is aiming to bring the technology used to power these services a little closer to home.

Today, AT&T announced that it plans to acquire Quickplay Media, a company that powers over-the-top (OTT) and TV Everywhere streaming services. “Our strategy is to deliver video content however, whenever and wherever,” AT&T Entertainment Group CEO John Stankey said in a statement.

AT&T has already been using Quickplay to power its own U-verse TV Everywhere service, so the two companies are already familiar. In addition to transferring ownership from current owner Madison Dearborn Partners, the acquisition will also see AT&T keeping Quickplay’s 350 employees.

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“We’ve spent more than a decade developing an advanced technology and service platform that can deliver premium video content to any device and over any network,” Quickplay founder and CEO Wayne Purbo said. “Our solution is highly automated and scalable. With AT&T, we’ll have the resources we need to further scale, grow the business, and continuously enhance that platform.”

AT&T isn’t Quickplay’s only customer — the service also powers offerings from Verizon, Samsung, Accuweather and more. The acquisition isn’t going to change this either, as the announcement makes it clear that the company will continue to provide service to its other customers.

In many ways, the deal looks similar to Disney’s billion-dollar bid to acquire Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s prospective spin-off, BAM Tech, which is responsible for streaming video for major clients like Disney-owned ESPN and Time Warner’s HBO. As more and more viewers move online — and away from cable and satellite — traditional media conglomerates are looking to own the means of distribution to better equip themselves for the streaming TV future.

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The terms of the deal haven’t been disclosed, but AT&T expects the deal to close by mid-2016, following the standard approvals. The new DirecTV streaming plans are currently slated to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2016, just ahead of planned internet TV offerings from YouTube and Hulu, both of which are planned to arrive in 2017.