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WOW! Lays Foundation to Ditch Selling Cable TV; Starts Offering Streaming Alternatives

Cable system overbuilder WideOpenWest, better known to customers as WOW!, has begun offering its customers subscriptions to streaming video competitors fuboTV, Philo, Sling, and YouTube TV, in what could be a gradual move away from selling its own video packages.

WOW!, like every cable operator, is losing cable television customers to cord-cutting. As of the end of 2019, the company had just 381,000 video subscribers remaining, down another 6,300 in the last three months. Because of its small size, WOW! does not qualify for the steep volume discounts offered to cable television and satellite TV companies that have tens of millions of video customers. As a result, it either has to continue to raise prices or watch its cable television packages become unprofitable. WOW! has apparently decided it is smarter to partner with nationwide video streaming providers, if only to keep its broadband and television customers from switching to a competitor.

“WOW! has always put a high value on offering choices to consumers,” said WOW! CEO Teresa Elder. “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 high-speed data customers […] who want to access streaming services on their terms.”

WOW! specializes in providing service in communities already served by another cable operator. Many of its systems are in the Midwest, where it competes with Charter Spectrum, Cox, or Comcast.

WOW! will offer customers one free Amazon Fire TV Stick and a $25 rebate that can be used to buy other set-top boxes that will support streaming TV alternatives.

If successful, it may not be too long before WOW! stops selling cable television altogether, to focus on its broadband business.

Discovery Networks Signs Deal with fuboTV, Adding 13 More Channels to Streaming Lineup

Phillip Dampier June 20, 2019 Competition, Consumer News, fuboTV, Online Video No Comments

Discovery Networks has signed a new contract with streaming TV service fuboTV that will bring 13 more channels to its lineups and allow subscribers to access on-demand content from Discovery’s suite of networks.

“Today’s content agreement broadens the strategic relationship between Discovery and fuboTV that began almost two years ago with the former Scripps Networks,” said Joel Armijo, fuboTV’s chief financial officer. “We are excited to be adding more Discovery brands alongside their lifestyle networks, which we already carry. These brands, including HGTV and Food Network, are among our top performing entertainment networks, and this agreement allows us to extend our partnership for years to come. We expect to be similarly successful with our new Discovery networks.”

Base fuboTV Standard subscribers that pay $54.99 a month will see Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation: Discovery, OWN-the Oprah Winfrey Network, and Motor Trend added to their lineup. Customers paying for fuboTV Extra ($5.99) will also receive the Science Channel, Destination America, Destination Family, American Heroes Channel, and Discovery Life. Two Spanish language networks — Discovery en Español and Discovery Familia will appear on fuboTV’s Spanish language lineup.

Discovery is aggressively signing deals with independent streaming TV services as cord-cutting continues to take a significant toll on satellite and cable television services. Preserving an established viewing audience will be crucial to Discovery’s marketing efforts for its own forthcoming streaming platform, which will look like a non-fiction/documentary version of Netflix.

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