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WTF is Audience Network, a Barker Channel?

The upside of it being hard to get attention is that good stuff can be built under the radar. While the echo chamber billows smoke from every crevice and crack of the old chapel that is TV, the AT&T Audience Network is somewhere in the middle. The network has been around for a while- long enough for you to maybe see it on the dial or read a piece on it in the trades. But not quite loud enough to reach FX or FXX status *with a few exceptions.

Yet a look at their line-up is starting to remind us of something between FX and something more interesting Netflix.

They launched a series with Tim Ferris and 7 seasons of Mad Men to a line up that includes Kingdom, Weeds, Billy and Billie, Sam Jones, American Standoff and a slew of solid original and not-completely-original-but-still-great programming options.

So what are DirecTV and AT&T doing with this channel? Is it a test ballon to answer to Netflix? A Barker channel to drive VOD in a way their broader VOD offering cannot? A way to develop audience affinity to their brand? A channel that translates well on mobile devices? An anti-churn channel aimed at trendsetters?

I would argue it’s all of those (or they wouldn’t have named it AT&T Audience Network). But honestly, I’m not sure. I’d love to know what you think because I find it interesting in this day and age that a network like this would invest in premium like that.

**If you live in LA, you can’t escape this and wonder: what is that? And, is that Christian Bale?