Verizon Skinnies Down With FiOS

Skinny TV has hit the mainstream. Following on the heels of Dish Network's introduction of Sling TV, Verizon has revealed that it will start offering new slimmed-down pay-TV bundles later this week. The skinny-TV packages will start with a basic channel line-up and give subscribers the option to bundle in additional channel packs according to personal taste. The news was first reported by Reuters.

According to Recode, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ)'s cheapest skinny-TV package -- with the basic line-up plus two custom channel packs -- will sell for $55 per month. For $65 per month, customers can add in basic Internet service with symmetrical speeds of 25 Mbit/s. Higher Internet speeds and/or the addition of phone service will add to the cost of the bundle. Subscribers can also stack up on additional channel packs, each available for $10 per month. Channel packs include: kids, pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, news, sports and sports plus.

A wave of new online video services has opened programmers up to the idea of new distribution models, and specifically to skinnier TV packages. For instance, both ESPN and HBO were available for years only to consumers who had already purchased a significant pay-TV bundle. Now, however, viewers can get ESPN as part of Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH)'s $20-per-month Sling TV offering. And HBO is available online in the form of HBO Now for only $15 per month when purchased through Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s iTunes, or as an add-on to Sling TV or Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s Optimum Internet service. (See Dish to Sling HBO by Saturday .)

Want to know more about the impact of web services on the pay-TV sector? Check out our dedicated OTT services content channel here on Light Reading.

In the case of Verizon, it will even be possible to get some Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS)-owned content like the Disney Channel without other networks such as ESPN.

Programmer flexibility comes in response to new online competition, but it doesn't mean content owners are willing to forgo profits if they can avoid it. The latest FiOS news comes only hours after Verizon also announced that it has signed content deals for a new mobile-first video service. Among those deals is one that includes ESPN in a package of online sports content that is expected to be bundled up and sold starting this summer. (See Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals.)

In other words, Verizon at least is likely using the leverage of having multiple distribution channels as a way to negotiate for skinnier TV.

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

Page 1 / 2   >   >>
mendyk 4/27/2015 | 1:38:57 PM
Re: pack No surprise that ESPN is suing Verizon for breach of contract regarding its skinny TV plan.
brooks7 4/22/2015 | 11:12:35 AM
Re: pack The image that always sticks in my mind is the one from South Park.  There is an episode where Kenny gets sucked in by the Jonas Brothers.  Evil Mickey Mouse is driving the whole thing.  The whole juxtaposition of the loveable mouse (complete with Mickey voice) and the evil that he spews is HYSTERICAL.

Whenever I think about content companies that is the image in my head.



mendyk 4/22/2015 | 10:52:03 AM
Re: pack Exactly. There's a whole huge money chain on the content/distribution side that has nothing to do with technology.
brooks7 4/22/2015 | 10:42:30 AM
Re: pack Yeah, and if we skinnied down the initial bundles to a very small number (I think the stats are still that 95%+ of folks watch the top 20 channels) we could move the rest to Switched Digital Video and make them pay for on a timed or subscription basis.  That (from a Cable Companies standpoint) would free up a mega butt load of spectrum.  They could then do super high def TV (like 4k or 8k) without redoing the plant AND add more bandwidth to DOCSIS.


mendyk 4/22/2015 | 9:43:12 AM
Re: pack That's one of the beauty parts of the open-market system. If people want to pay for ESPN etc. programming, they could. Right now, though, ESPN gets a pretty nice cut from every single video service subscriber. The technology clearly is available to allow on-the-fly a la carte subscriptions (PPV has worked this way for well over a decade now). But too many entities are addicted to the easy money generated by a tragically outdated model.
Phil_Britt 4/22/2015 | 9:06:06 AM
Re: pack I agree with you about things like SEC (or in my case Big 10) networks. But if not already there, the championship games then will move to ESPN. So you will be able to get games like Clemson-Vanderbilt or Purdue-Iowa that are important to alums, but not the games that will draw the largest number of viewers.
mendyk 4/21/2015 | 4:59:34 PM
Re: pack This is a huge point, and one that's lost in the reflex reaction to pin the blame on cable operators. As much as they are talking about OTT services, content conglomerates like ABC/Disney (or I should say ESPECIALLY ABC/Disney) are extracting huge amounts of money from content aggregation packages. They don't want to see this model decommissioned. In fact, at this point the content conglomerates have more to lose than the network operators, who would stand to see pretty decent margin improvements if they simply sell broadband service without having to deal with content fees.
brooks7 4/21/2015 | 4:47:25 PM
Re: pack You guys are making the assumption that content pricing is driven by the Cable companies...guess again it is driven by the content companies.  What will drive down content pricing is disaggregation of content.  Like the SEC network if all you want is SEC stuff instead of ESPN.  The challenge is that actual content will want more money, not less.  The way that you might spend less is not having to buy bundles...which again are forced by the content companies (see Kbode's note about the suit to be dropped by ESPN).


Ariella 4/21/2015 | 3:01:19 PM
Re: pack @kq4ym yes, that's exactly what we have in my area. Only 2 companies offer service, including Verizon, so there is very little drive to keep prices down.
kq4ym 4/21/2015 | 10:37:09 AM
Re: pack The skinny package still seems to be overprised to me. But, I suspect as others get into the game, there's be some lowering of prices over time, unless the majors can tie up the programming so customers have no real choice in competitive pricing.
Page 1 / 2   >   >>
Sign In