Washington Post

Battle of the Bundle: Broadcast Nets Line Up Against Verizon

Apr 22, 2015  •  Post A Comment

Battle lines are forming in a high-stakes dispute over the TV bundle. Two major broadcast networks have aligned with Disney’s ESPN in protesting Verizon’s new FiOS offering, which threatens to break up the bundle.

The Washington Post reports that Fox and NBC have joined the fight against Verizon’s new “Custom TV” plan. The protest represents a “major hurdle” for the Verizon effort, the Post reports.

Verizon began offering the new FiOS Custom TV plan Sunday. The plan “was designed to allow customers more flexibility over what channels they choose to pay for instead of being forced to buy into huge packages of hundreds of channels,” the Post reports. “Verizon allows users to pick 35 basic channels that include local networks, CNN and The Food Network. They can then add on additional channels grouped by interests such as sports and children’s TV.”

As we reported earlier this week, ESPN responded with a statement saying such packages “would not be authorized by our existing agreements.” ESPN has insisted that ESPN and ESPN2 must be a part of the core package.

Now Fox and NBC are taking similar complaints to Verizon. Fox, whose Fox Sports 1 is a part of Verizon’s sports package and not the core lineup, issued a statement saying: “We reject Verizon’s view that it can pursue the new packaging scheme it announced yet still comply with our agreements.”

The Post report also quotes an NBC statement saying, “Verizon’s announced ‘Custom TV’ package does not comply with our existing agreement.”

Both Fox and NBC have reportedly been dealing directly with Verizon to address the issue.

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  1. I have to admit to some surprise about Fox and NBC protesting this move, as neither of those networks would be left out of the basic bundles, and the goal of TV is to get as many pairs of eyes watching. On the other hand, Fox might not like the possibility of not getting Fox News in all the bundles, and as NBC is now part of Comcast, I guess that Comcast resents the threat to their business model of cramming a whole bunch of stations down your throat (for a lot of money every month) whether you want them or not. I wholly understand ESPN’s feelings, because I have NEVER been interested in having ESPN, and especially since, when I had cable, it cost me $5 a month for something I never wanted and never watched.

    What is far more surprising is Network TV taking ads from HULU, because what those ads are telling network viewers is, “Turn off your TV! Watch us instead!” I think that’s just as stupid as radio stations running ads for Pandora or Sirius/XM.

  2. Wait, there’s a Fox Sports 1??

  3. My Dish Network plan has all the ESPN sports channels as part of my package and I have never watched any of them. I can’t stand the fact that I am forced to pay for these channels that go completely unused in my house. Of course these networks are protesting a custom TV plan…how may channels that are just plain boring and unnecessary would bite the dust if we weren’t forced to buy them in our packages?

  4. This won’t get rid of the smaller channels. They can still get to their niche audiences. They can just become internet channels. Take that app mentality that someone like Roku has and pay your $1.99 a month for it. This cord cutting is not going to be cheaper. $15 for HBO, $20 for Sling, $10 for Hulu, then the little extra channels, then the beefed up internet speed to stream it all fast enough so that it doesn’t buffer all the time. Welcome to the new boss, same as the old boss.

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