April 17, 2015
To better compete in the changing pay TV landscape, Verizon is planning to introduce more flexibility for subscribers of its FiOS service. Beginning April 19, viewers will have the option of a slim package of channels and will also be able to add “channel packs” that feature genre-based channels (for example: pop culture, lifestyle, sports). Plans will start at $55 per month. Additional packages including 10-17 channels will run $10 a month. In addition, subscribers will have the ability to switch between channel packs after 30 days.
“The move comes as pay-TV distributors such as Verizon are facing mounting pressure to give consumers more choice in how they buy TV, instead of requiring them to purchase a large bundle of channels, including many they don’t want,” reports The Wall Street Journal.
According to Nielsen, the number of television channels that American consumers receive jumped 46 percent from 2008 to 2013. And while there are hundreds of options, most viewers focus on less than 20 channels.
Popular streaming services from Netflix, Amazon and Hulu are leading to more cord cutting, while new services such as Dish Network’s Sling TV and the upcoming skinny bundle from Apple TV are targeting cost-conscious consumers.
“The plan Verizon announced isn’t a full move to ‘a la carte’ pricing — allowing customers to pick each individual channel they want,” notes WSJ. “That is a model some lawmakers and consumer groups have pushed for over the years, with media executives arguing it would wreak havoc on the industry and be worse for consumers. The FiOS plan will relegate some of the most well-known cable TV channels to add-on tiers.
For Example, ESPN and Fox Sports 1 is part of the sports pack, while USA and TNT are in the entertainment pack.
In related news, Variety reports that Verizon is also planning to launch a wireless Internet TV service this year, and has “announced a series of deals for college-sports programming with ESPN, CBS Sports and others — indicating, perhaps, that the telco considered full sports networks too pricey for the millennial-targeted offering.”
“College sports with all of its live programming and networks targeted to millennials are a natural fit for any mobile-first video platform,” noted Terry Denson, VP of content acquisition and strategy at Verizon. “These brands are at the top of the league, and we’re excited to work with them as new content models for our customers develop and evolve.”