AT&T expands local television stations on DirecTV Now service

An AT&T sign is seen outside a branch in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, U.S., October 24, 2016. REUTERS/Jim Young

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc has expanded the lineup of local channels on its DirecTV Now internet streaming service, it said on Friday, as the No. 2 wireless carrier seeks to win online subscribers who prefer not to pay for a traditional cable package.

AT&T, which is in the process of buying Time Warner Inc for $85.4 billion, said the service now offers live local channels to 70 percent of U.S. households, more than double at its launch in November.

The number of streaming services is growing rapidly as technology and telecommunications companies target about 20 million U.S. households which have no pay-TV package.

Dish Network Corp sells a streaming service called Sling TV. Hulu LLC, owned by Walt Disney Co, Comcast Corp, Time Warner and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc , launched its service in May.

New additions to DirecTV Now, which starts at $35 a month, include Disney’s ABC in 30 new markets including Atlanta and Boston. But the lineup does not include CBS Corp, which sells its own streaming service called All Access.

Adding more local channels allows AT&T to offer customers a viewing experience more similar to a larger TV bundle.

AT&T spokeswoman Erin McGrath said by phone that local news and sports are key considerations for consumers thinking of switching to a streaming service.

AT&T has been pushing DirecTV Now by bundling the service with wireless plans and has added support for Roku streaming devices.

Reporting by Anjali Athavaley; Editing by Richard Chang