Verizon has taken what may be the single biggest step toward true a la carte television, even as a growing number of competitors line up to challenge the traditional TV bundle.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the company’s new FiOS TV packages will give customers flexibility in picking and choosing which groups of channels they want to watch — and are willing to pay for.
The move comes as an increasing number of over-the-top streaming services — from Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and others — are offering alternatives to traditional pay TV.
“Starting April 19, consumers will be able to sign up for a slim package of TV channels that includes broadcasters such as ABC and Fox, as well as CNN, AMC, Food Network and others. They can then add on ‘channel packs’ covering various genres, such as sports, kids, pop culture and lifestyle,” WSJ reports.
The lowest-level plan will carry a price tag of $55 a month, which comes with two channel packs, the report notes. Additional packages, typically of about 10 to 17 channels, can be added for $10. Plans will allow for switching channel packages after 30 days.
Verizon FiOS currently has about 5 million video customers, the report notes.
The article quotes Verizon FiOS President Tami Erwin saying: “Customers want flexibility to turn channels on and turn channels off.”
Similar services aimed at cord cutters are in the works or have already arrived. The report notes that Dish Network’s Sling TV offers a service built on a $20 core package, which enables customers to mix and match channel tiers to be added, while Apple TV is readying a service for fall that will begin with a “skinny” channel bundle.
Like these services, the new Verizon plan falls short of a true a la carte model — a model that Erwin said might end up costing consumers more.
“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,” Erwin added.