Time Warner Cable to Expand Discount TV Tier
Though So Far It Exists Largely as a Way to Upsell Users
Time Warner Cable executives have spent a good chunk of the last year paying lip service to cash strapped consumers, though for the most part haven't been seriously willing to compete on price. Since last November
the company has been toying around with a "TV Essentials" cable tier they've been selling in New York and portions of Ohio for around $30-$50. This week the company announced they would be bringing the offer to additional markets
, but didn't specify a time frame or what those markets would be.
“We've been challenging ourselves to design an offering that might be more attractive and affordable to those customers who might not be able to handle the full packages,” COO Rob Marcus said this week at an investor conference. “The numbers are still pretty small, but the results are sufficiently encouraging that we’re going to roll that out more broadly."
The offer comes with a number of caveats -- such as you can't bundle it with VoIP or broadband, you can't get DVR service with it, and the offer is only good for a year. With a lack of high-profile channels missing from the package (Fox News, MSNBC), it also lacks serious value, and exists more to upsell customers to more expensive tiers than to seriously address consumer cost concerns.
Still, at least Time Warner Cable acknowledges there's a cost/value ratio issue that needs addressing
as wallets get tighter and more low-cost cable alternatives emerge.