Charter Communications is taking aim at TV cord-cutters and broadband-only customers via a trial of a slimmed-down, no-contract streaming video package that starts at $19.95 per month.
The in-home IPTV offering, called Spectrum TV Stream, offers more than 25 channels, including the four major local TV broadcast feeds, plus PBS, CNN, Bravo, A&E, Discovery Network, FX, and AMC, History, and E!, among others, according to this promotional flyer about the service posted on Reddit.
Per the promo, that baseline offering also offers access to a library of nearly 5,000 free VOD titles and does authorize a subset of its live TV channels (those with TV Everywhere rights) to be viewed when the customer is out of home.
A premium version of the package, which costs $15 more per month (a price that is good for three years, according to the flyer), subs can get a VOD library with more than 10,000 titles and more than 35 premium channels from HBO, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Starz and Starz Encore. Subs can also subscribe to individual premium channels for $7.50 per month.
The flyer also shows a live sports and news package for an additional $12 per month that includes ESPN, NBC Sports, ESPN2, Bloomberg Television, and HLN, plus others.
Out of the chute, Spectrum TV Stream, which doesn’t use traditional set-top boxes, is supported on iOS, Android and Amazon mobile devices, Roku players, the Xbox One and Samsung smart TVs.
Confirming a report by Fast Company, Charter issued this statement:
“We are testing Spectrum Stream, an IP delivered in-home Cable TV product with traditional TV everywhere out-of-home streaming, to a group of prequalified and current Spectrum Internet customers to see if this smaller package resonates with a certain segment of non-video customers. It includes local broadcast channels, 25 popular cable networks and access to thousands of On Demand choices — along with options for additional news, sports and premium channels — delivered to connected and mobile devices, without requiring a set-top box.”
Charter tested a different iteration of Spectrum TV Stream in the fall of 2015 that started at $12.99 per month, bundled in a Roku 3 streaming player, and offered an add-on package with channels such as A&E, ESPN, Food Network, TBS and TLC for an additional $7 per month.
Other pay TV operators are testing or rolling out slimmer bundles, including some without sports programming, as they try to stay on top of a small but growing cord-cutting trend.
Comcast, for example, has been eyeing a Q3 launch of Xfinity Instant TV, an in-footprint, managed IPTV service that will feature a variety of packages, access to a cloud DVR, and initially target broadband subscribers who don’t take a pay TV package from the MSO. Reuters reported that the app-based Xfinity Instant TV offering will be priced starting at about $15 per month and include packages that could sell for up to $40 per month, and allow for add-ons such as ESPN.
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CenturyLink is taking a somewhat different approach with CenturyLink Stream, a nationally-available OTT offering that features a baseline $45 per month package that includes ESPN and a cloud DVR, and a handful of add-on programming packages.