Englewood, Co.-based WideOpenWest has become the latest cable operator to marginalize its shrinking traditional pay TV business, announcing that it will market virtual pay TV services Sling TV, YouTube TV, fuboTV and Philo to broadband customers in Charleston, S.C.
WOW!, as the company likes to brand itself, lost another 6,300 TV video customers in the third quarter, its base shrinking to just under 381,000 subscribers. As its scale shrinks, WOW!’s programming costs continue to escalate—it’s the virtuous cycle that has many Tier 2 and 3 cable operators choosing to market vMVPDs in lieu of offering the business that created the cable industry in the first place, TV piped into homes by a wire.
WOW! said it’s providing “free in-home set-top” of the customer OTT configuration, as well as an Amazon Fire TV Stick at no cost.
"WOW! has always put a high value on offering choices to consumers,” said WOW! CEO Teresa Elder, in a statement. “This is one more way we're empowering customers to determine when, where and how they consume information and entertainment. Our robust broadband network is the natural choice for HSD customers in Charleston who want to access streaming services on their terms."
As small and mid-sized cable operators abandon the concept of licensing programming networks and building network bundles themselves, they don’t want to totally abdicate the video business.
OTT companies are rushing into this void. On Monday, for example, Windstream announced that it will market YouTube TV to its Kinetic broadband customers.
Last week, for example, Amazon announced that it’s giving the 750 member companies of the National Cable TV Cooperative discounts to its Fire TV streaming devices. Meanwhile, TiVo’s CEO, Dave Shull, announced that his company will look to its Tier 2 and 3 cable operator partners to distribute TiVo Stream 4K, the company’s new entry into the OTT device market.