Verizon FiOS To Offer More Flexible Channel Bundles

While some still hold out hope for the pipe dream of a true a la carte pay-TV option where the customer only pays for the channels they want (but at a price that isn’t outrageous), pressure from new streaming services appears to be nudging at least one major cable provider to offer a more flexible plan to subscribers.

According to both the Wall Street Journal and Reuters, Verizon FiOS will soon begin rolling out a package with pricing that is structured a lot like the Sling TV service — where the customer pays for a core slate of channels and can then pay to add smaller bundles of more targeted to specific interests.

Reuters reports that the “Custom TV” offering from FiOS will start at $65/month for 36 channels plus and will include two additional niche channel packs of the customer’s choosing. Interestingly, the Journal claims the base package is only $55. We’ve written to Verizon for more information on the plans and will update when we hear back.

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UPDATE: Verizon has provided Consumerist with some more details about the pricing. The $55 price mentioned by the Journal is for customers who only get TV service through FiOS. If you bundle in broadband, it’s $65. Phone brings it up to $75:

fiospricing

Sports channels are not included in the base of 36 channels, but area instead broken into two separate bundles: The Sports Channel Pack includes ESPN and FOX Sports, among others; the Sports Plus Channel Pack includes Regional Sports Networks and specialty sports programming like NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, NHL Network and Golf Channel.

The new offerings will launch on Sunday, according to Verizon.
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Additional channel packages (offering anywhere from 10 to 17 channels each) will cost $10/month each. There will be seven to choose from at launch. And like Sling, customers will not be locked into long-term usage agreements for these add-ons. Instead, they can dump them after 30 days.

“Everybody is getting into the video space… increasingly customers are saying, ‘I want to pay for what I view,'” Tami Erwin, the president of Verizon’s national operations told Reuters.

Until we see the actual channel slates and get a chance to review the fine-print details, we can’t judge whether this is a good deal or something worth considering.

Additionally there is the problem that, at least for the time being, Verizon has throttled back on its expansion of FiOS and appears to be focused on gaining customers in the areas in which it has already built out its network. So the many millions of consumers who may want FiOS to bring this service — and competition in general — to their markets appear to be out of luck for now.