What AT&T-DirecTV deal means for consumers

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In the short term, AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV is unlikely to affect either company's customers. But the long term is another story.

AT&T -- like its rivals Verizon and Comcast clearly wants to sell bundles of broadband and television that deliver on the promise of anything/anytime/anywhere programming.

Wall Street analysts pointed to a number of other motivations for the deal.

"While this transaction has some strategic merits, it appears more to be structured to enhance AT&T's financial position," Vijay Jayant of ISI Group said. Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson agreed -- he commented that AT&T is "in dire need of a cash producer to sustain their dividend."

Moffett said he was struggling to find "greater meaning" in the deal. "It's a huge transaction, but I think it's very unlikely to change the landscape of pay TV very much," he said. Whether people want to sit back and watch live TV on a big screen, Netflix-style on a smart phone, or some other way that's still being dreamed up, AT&T wants to have a stake in it.

What AT&T-DirecTV deal means for consumers