& cplSiteName &

Charter Cited in Skinny Bundle Talks Report

Mari Silbey
5/15/2017
50%
50%

Mere weeks after CEO Tom Rutledge made it clear that he doesn't love the idea of launching an over-the-top video service, Charter is now reported to be in talks with cable networks about creating an inexpensive streaming bundle -- $15 to $20 per month -- that excludes major sports channels. The news, which comes from a report by The Wall Street Journal, ties Charter to cable networks that include A&E, AMC, Discovery, Scripps and Viacom.

A Charter spokesperson said the company would not comment on the report.

The possibility of Charter Communications Inc. creating an online skinny-bundle service sounds at once contradictory to the company's party line and entirely plausible. Although Charter executives emphasize that they don't want to cannibalize their higher-value services, they've also declared that they have the technical capacity, and in some cases the content rights, to introduce an OTT product. Further, Rutledge acknowledged in Charter's recent earnings call that "there is a general decline in the MVPD marketplace that is mostly price-driven," suggesting that he's keeping a wary eye on the economics to determine if and when it becomes necessary to offer a cheaper pay-TV bundle. (See Charter Remains Cautious as Earnings Lag.)

The Charter CEO may be one of the most cautious cable executives in the industry, but he's also one of the most pragmatic.


Want to know more about video and TV market trends? Check out our dedicated video services content channel here on Light Reading.


There's another piece of evidence that lends credibility to the skinny-bundle rumor. Charter recently announced an agreement with AMC Networks Inc. that gives the cable company the exclusive rights to distribute original AMC programming during a temporary release window. (See Charter Does Exclusive Content Deal With AMC.)

Charter could use that content as a way to stem further losses from its traditional set of video subscribers, but it could also use the programming to build a new revenue stream much the way CBS Corp. (NYSE: CBS) has done with its CBS All Access product. If Charter bundled the AMC content with shows from other cable networks as well, it could conceivably create a new package that doesn't cannibalize its existing services, but rather adds a new source of income.

Whatever Charter decides to do, it does have some ground to make up, both in terms of the OTT competition already on the market, and in terms of the video subscribers it continues to shed from its traditional customer base. Last quarter, the company lost 100,000 video subs. Most were in legacy Time Warner Cable markets, but legacy Charter regions also reported losses.

— Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, Light Reading

(1)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
kq4ym
50%
50%
kq4ym,
User Rank: Light Sabre
5/27/2017 | 9:34:17 AM
Playing Me Too?
It would seem Charter and probably others are going to have to consider offering skinny bundles even at the threat of losing some revenue from their normal business offerings. Trying to play catch up with CBS, Googke and others may be the name of the game for the next years or so.
Featured Video
From The Founder
Light Reading is spending much of this year digging into the details of how automation technology will impact the comms market, but let's take a moment to also look at how automation is set to overturn the current world order by the middle of the century.
Flash Poll
Upcoming Live Events
November 1, 2017, The Royal Garden Hotel
November 1, 2017, The Montcalm Marble Arch
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue, London, UK
November 2, 2017, 8 Northumberland Avenue London
November 10, 2017, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
November 16, 2017, ExCel Centre, London
November 30, 2017, The Westin Times Square
May 14-17, 2018, Austin Convention Center
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
With the mobile ecosystem becoming increasingly vulnerable to security threats, AdaptiveMobile has laid out some of the key considerations for the wireless community.
Hot Topics
Muni Policies Stymie Edge Computing
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/17/2017
Pai's FCC Raises Alarms at Competitive Carriers
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
Is US Lurching Back to Monopoly Status?
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 10/16/2017
'Brutal' Automation & the Looming Workforce Cull
Iain Morris, News Editor, 10/18/2017
Worried About Bandwidth for 4K? Here Comes 8K!
Aditya Kishore, Practice Leader, Video Transformation, Telco Transformation, 10/17/2017
Animals with Phones
Selfie Game Strong Click Here
Latest Comment
Live Digital Audio

Understanding the full experience of women in technology requires starting at the collegiate level (or sooner) and studying the technologies women are involved with, company cultures they're part of and personal experiences of individuals.

During this WiC radio show, we will talk with Nicole Engelbert, the director of Research & Analysis for Ovum Technology and a 23-year telecom industry veteran, about her experiences and perspectives on women in tech. Engelbert covers infrastructure, applications and industries for Ovum, but she is also involved in the research firm's higher education team and has helped colleges and universities globally leverage technology as a strategy for improving recruitment, retention and graduation performance.

She will share her unique insight into the collegiate level, where women pursuing engineering and STEM-related degrees is dwindling. Engelbert will also reveal new, original Ovum research on the topics of artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, security and augmented reality, as well as discuss what each of those technologies might mean for women in our field. As always, we'll also leave plenty of time to answer all your questions live on the air and chat board.

Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Partner Perspectives - content from our sponsors
The Mobile Broadband Road Ahead
By Kevin Taylor, for Huawei
All Partner Perspectives