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Verizon Takes Baby Step Unbundling Pay-TV

17 Apr, 2015 By: Erik Gruenwedel

In the escalating assault by over-the-top video on the traditional pay-TV ecosystem, Verizon is set to partially unbundle its channel offerings to consumers April 19 with the rollout of new “FiOS Custom TV” packages.

Priced at $54.99, the package affords subscribers a 35-channel basic package featuring CNN, AMC, HGTV, Food Network, etc., plus a kids channel pack (Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, Nick) and entertainment channel pack (USA Network, TNT, TBS).

For an additional $10 per month per package, subs can select either a sport channel pack (ESPN, Fox Sports 1, NBCSN) or sports channel plus pack (NFL Network, Golf, MLB Network and 18 regional sports networks).

The bundles can be swapped or dropped every 30 days. FiOS Custom TV does not include high-speed Internet service.

Currently, Verizon’s cheapest off-contract FiOS service, which includes Internet, features 65 channels priced at $75 per month.

“Customers want flexibility to turn channels on and turn channels off. While this is not all-the-way a la carte, customers have the ability to consolidate and collapse the kind of content they want to view,” Tami Erwin, president of Verizon FiOS, told The Wall Street Journal.

FiOS Custom TV’s immediate competitors include Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which for PS3 and PS4 users living in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York currently affords access to 60 channels for $50 a month. Regional sports and additional channel packages range from $10 to $20 extra monthly.

Dish Network’s broadband-delivered Sling TV features CNN, HGTV, ESPN, ESPN2, TNT, TBS, AMC, Disney Channel, Food Network, El Rey, Maker Studios, and Cartoon Network, among others, for $20 monthly. Subs can add HBO Now for $15, in addition to separate genre pacts for $5 each per month.

Regardless, FiOS Custom TV may become irrelevant this summer when Verizon launches its own OTT video service, reportedly offering live sports.

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