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AT&T's DirecTV Now will stream Fox networks too

AT&T's virtual cable service recruited Fox News, one of the last programming hurdles before its unveiling next week.

Channels like Fox News and FX will be part of DirecTV Now's 100-plus digital channels, but Fox's broadcast networks are unclear.
Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images

AT&T checked off one of the final items on its DirecTV to-do list: recruit Fox.

The telecom giant signed up 21st Century Fox television networks like Fox News for its DirectTV Now streaming service, which is set to be unveiled next week. AT&T had sealed streaming deals with most of the major television programming companies but until Monday, Fox was one of the holdouts.

The big caveat: The entirety of Fox's broadcast programming may not be included at launch.

AT&T is the latest company vying for consumers who have opted out of traditional pay-TV subscriptions. Cord cutters and others have seen a surge in options for unlocking "real" TV online over the last three years. Those options include HBO Now and live-streaming bundles like Sling TV. But cobbling together digital services can end up costly and complicated.

Fox's own broadcast networks exemplify how digital services quickly get complicated. Despite Monday's deal, it's unclear how programming from Fox's namesake network will participate in DirecTV Now. The companies said they agreed on a "framework" for Fox broadcast networks to be delivered nationwide on the service.

By contrast, the companies said the following networks would be available for DirecTV Now customers: Fox News Channel, Fox Business Network, FX, FXX, FXM, Fox Sports 1 and 2, Big Ten Network, 18 Fox regional sports networks, National Geographic and Nat Geo Wild.

Representatives for AT&T and Fox said the companies weren't providing more details about the "framework" today.

AT&T has already tipped its hand that DirecTV Now will cost $35 a month for more than 100 live channels, setting it up as a competitor to traditional cable and satellite as well as existing online upstarts like Sling TV from rival satellite provider Dish. It will also compete against its own U-Verse TV and DirecTV pay-TV services.

The remaining hole in DirecTV Now's lineup is CBS, which runs its namesake broadcast network as well as premium cable channel Showtime. (CNET is owned by CBS.)