Verizon Communications Inc. is launching a new plan for pay TV, which will allow customers to choose which channel bundles they wish to see every month. While this move is just a small step towards true “a la carte” programming, Verizon is hoping the added flexibility will entice customers enough to compete with its cable rivals, as well as upstart Web TV companies.
Verizon’s new “Custom TV” packages will start from $65 per month, and will include broadband service, 36 fixed basic channels and two genre-based channel packs. The company will offer seven channel packs in total, such as a sports or kids bundle. Additional channel packs can be added for $10 each, and customers can simply swap or discontinue any pack after 30 days, allowing for a wide range of channel experimentation.
The channel packs are aimed at customers looking for an option in between fully loaded cable and satellite TV packages, and “skinny” bundles such as Sling TV. Analysts predict Custom TV will help Verizon lure customers away from rival cable companies, while also preventing some customers from cutting the cord altogether.
“It’s not a pure ‘a la carte’ the way some consumers want, but we are certainly through the Verizon offering going to have more choice and the type of choice that has not been associated with traditional pay TV services,” said Greg Ireland, a director at market research firm IDC.