We’ve been waiting for the shoe to drop in regards to cable bundling, and we may have finally reached that point. Verizon is reportedly going to begin to offer various packages to customers for select channels, theoretically allowing customers to drop channels they don’t watch in exchange for a lower bill.
Of course, Verizon won’t be doing this on a pure channel by channel basis (a la carte) – customers would still need to buy cable packages, they’d just be different packages from the usual “basic” and “premium” tiers you typically see with most providers. Beginning on Sunday, Verizon customers can switch to a base package with roughly 35 channels for around $55. They can then choose to add two more themed “channel packs” with 10-17 channels for no charge, or more than two packs for an additional $10. Every 30 days, you can switch out your packs, and no contract is necessary.
But at the end of the day…will this really be worth it? The “skinny” package itself costs $55 per month. If you’re going to want Internet along with it, that cost will go up to $65 to $85 per month before taxes, equipment, installation, and other fees. The current basic TV/Internet package through Verizon is $75-$85 per month with a two year contract. So you’re not really saving any money unless you’re already an existing Verizon customer that wants to cut their bill. In fact, if you’re a new customer, you’d probably be better off getting one of the full-blown cable packages instead of a skinny package.
It really doesn’t seem like this is a tactic designed to draw in new customers, but instead keep older customers from cutting the cord. If you’re a cord cutter that’s already paying your $10 for Hulu, $10 for Netflix, and $50 or so for an Internet package, would dropping another $15-$35 per month solely for live sports be worth it? Even if you drop the Hulu and Netflix subs, you’d still be paying more for Verizon’s cable/skinny package than you were for your 100% streaming plan. Even though there’s no contract and you can rotate your channel packs, I’m still not seeing the appeal for someone who’s already cut the cord.