December 5, 2013
Time Warner Cable is marketing a stripped-down, low-cost bundle ($29.99 per month) that includes HBO and a limited number of broadcast TV channels. The new package is targeting viewers who are not interested in paying for a traditional tier of cable channels. The “Starter TV with HBO” package features about 20 channels including local broadcast networks. The special pricing is available for the first 12 months, but does not include set-top box fees or other charges.
The package includes three C-SPAN channels and shopping channels HSN, QVC and ShopNBC. Following the first year promotion, the price increases to $45 for the next three months, and then to $65 after 15 months.
“TW Cable’s launch of the HBO-plus-basic-TV promo comes after Comcast earlier this fall began offering ‘Internet Plus,’ a bundle priced at $39.99 or $49.99 per month (depending on market) that includes broadband, broadcast TV channels and HBO,” reports Variety.
“Pay TV providers are required under FCC regulations to offer premium services like HBO on a standalone basis in conjunction with any TV tier,” notes the article. “What’s new with the Comcast and TW Cable offers is that they are now actively marketing cheaper packages with HBO at a promotional price.”
“The bundles could also be targeted at the viewers who want HBO and HBO Go as an a-la-carte service,” adds Wired. “These types of subscriptions still seem like a long way off, but if low-cost premium bundles from Time Warner and Comcast do take off, the way we subscribe to pay TV could be poised for a dramatic shift.”