AT&T (NYSE:T) continued its aggressive pursuit of mobile video with the launch of a year-long project with 10 digital content providers to develop a new series as well as live concert broadcasts, podcasts and other offerings. And the carrier extended its latest buy-one, get-one promotion to the iPhone.
The nation's second-largest operator unveiled Hello Lab, a collaboration with the digital video company Fullscreen to enable artists to create content with their smartphones, for consumption by mobile users. As AdAge noted, AT&T and the Chernin Group bought a majority stake in Fullscreen in 2014 through their joint venture Otter Media.
Hello Lab launched with Dare to Travel, "a fan-driven travel series" on YouTube in which the audience participates by determining travel challenges for a pair of actors. The weekly series will integrate Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter to interact with users.
The move underscores AT&T's ambition to expand into video -- particularly mobile video -- following its acquisition of DirecTV. The carrier not only is bundling its video and wireless offerings but also is testing an integrated mobile video advertising campaign and is considering launching a mobile-only video product, Wells Fargo Securities analysts recently reported.
"Today's generation of digital-first creators form extremely powerful connections to their legions of fans," Fullscreen CEO George Strompolos said in a prepared statement. "Marketers need to respect and enhance that connection in order to make an impact with their brand message. With Hello Lab, AT&T is taking a longer-term, collaborative approach to content creation and marketing that adds value to both the creator and the fan."
Meanwhile, AT&T launched a promotion enabling new and existing customers who buy an iPhone to get a second iPhone free with a qualifying plan. Both phones must be purchased on the carrier's equipment installment plan, and a credit of as much as $650 is redeemed over 30 monthly bill credits after three bill cycles.
The promotion is an expansion of AT&T's existing two-for-one deal for the Samsung Galaxy S6. And it's the latest example of how carriers are once again turning to the BOGO model to attract customers in an increasingly competitive mobile market (and possibly to clear out smartphone inventories ahead of new device launches).
"The BOGO, a mainstay of carrier promotions when devices were generally subsidized, is now making a comeback, with BOGO or 'semi-BOGO' offers now available from AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon," Wave7 Research noted recently. "Carriers are likely focusing on these offers as a means of adding lines to existing accounts. However, the new offers are likely to have a negative impact on device margins."
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