Responding to the slow erosion of customers
the cable industry previously claimed didn't exist, Time Warner Cable recently hinted
that they would soon be experimenting with lower cost channel bundles. Now Reuters
has a little more detail, noting that the company will be testing $30-$50 packages in New York City and Ohio that can't be bundled with VoIP or broadband
. The story of course comes complete with a quote from industry quote machine and stock jock Craig Moffett, who plays off the new cord cutting trend once again as a "a low-end phenomenon" due to "poverty."
Time Warner Cable tells Bloomberg
this new "TV Essentials" tier kicks off first in New York City next week for $39.95, and will include local and major broadcast networks along with the top 20 highest-rated cable networks -- except for Fox News and Comedy Central. Time Warner Cable says they're responding to "customer need":
What we're planning to do is deliver on that customer need," said Marcus. "We're planning on delivering a package, or possibly more than one package, of programming that will exclude some of the higher priced networks. Because we're excluding the high priced channels, we have the ability to charge a lot less for it."
There's a lot of caveats with this bundle, including the fact you can't tack on a DVR, the offer is only going to be for a year, you can't bundle other services, and a lot of major networks won't be included (Fox News, MSNBC). The value proposition isn't all that impressive, given that for another $10 you can get something like 80 additional channels.
While it's nice that Time Warner Cable is finally realizing you can't continually cram rate hikes down the throats of consumers during a recession, this project seems more like a confused and half-hearted lab experiment than a legitimate effort to lower prices and increase choice.