Cablevision Systems is launching a series of cord-cutter packages, basically a mixture of high-speed Internet and a digital antenna to grab over-the air networks.
Introductory prices for the service will range from $34.90 per month to $44.90 per month and in some cases including Cablevision’s Freewheel WiFi-only phone service and are specifically targeted at young customers who are increasingly balking at paying high prices for cable TV. Data speeds will range from a basic 5 Megabit per second offering to 50 Mbps and beyond. Customers also have the option of adding Home Box Office standalone service HBO Now at an additional charge.
The offerings are different from so-called “skinny TV” packages in that the Cablevision offering includes no cable or broadcast networks at all. Optimum TV is specifically excluded.
“As a connectivity company, Cablevision is reimagining its relationship with its customers,” said chief operating officer Kristin Dolan in a statement. “Our new ‘cord cutter’ packages take a modern approach to traditional triple-product bundles and provide real alternatives that fit new consumer lifestyles.”
With the cord-cutter packages, millennials will be able to access SVOD apps like Netflix and Hulu, hook up a Roku Box or Apple TV device or subscribe to low cost over-the-top offerings like Sling TV that they pay for separately over their broadband connections. Broadcast networks will be available for free over the air using a Mohu Leaf 50 digital antenna (valued at $69.99). Mohu, which got its start in 2010 as a maker of antennas for the military, has been one of several antenna manufacturers that have targeted the pay TV market.
Cablevision CEO James Dolan has been a big proponent of connectivity, stressing that the cable operator has to make moves to ensure its customers get the products and services they want. That could mean that video drops a notch on the priority chart – Dolan has said in the past that given the choice between video and data, consumers will choose data every time. And the company has backed up that strategy by building out one of the most robust WiFi networks in the industry and in February launching Freewheel, a WiFi-only phone aimed at data hungry consumers and priced at $29.95 per month for non-Cablevision customers and $9.95 per month for existing customers.