As it has often been foretold, so it is coming to pass: another major cable company is planning to sell cable-free, internet-based cable to its cord-cutting customers, starting with a pilot program in New York City.
At least that’s the pilot plan from Time Warner Cable, the Associated Press reports. It’s an over-the-top offering, of the style we’ve seen from plenty of other companies spanning everything from broadcast networks (CBS), to satellite companies (Dish Sling), cable companies (Comcast), and digital natives (Netflix).
TWC’s CEO Rob Marcus told analysts on a call that “where we’re headed is the ability of customers to access the complete video product without having to rent a set-top box from us.” The service would be like any other login-using, account-based streaming tool that consumers access through their gaming consoles, Rokus, Fire TVs, or a zillion other little bits of hardware. It’s just that instead of navigating to Netflix or Hulu and streaming their content, users would navigate to TWC and stream TV.
A spokesperson for TWC told the AP that there would be different options for packages and service levels, but declined to provide specific answers about prices or what would be included.
TWC already has an app that existing subscribers can use, but those subscribers must first also have a device from their cable company. The shift would make the app able to be a user’s primary cable device, and TWC is planning to throw in a free Roku for anyone who signs up.
Like basically every other cable company, TWC (which may be Charter by this time next year) has been losing video subscribers over time but continues to gain broadband subscribers. If TWC can sell video programming to those internet-only customers through an app, they can call it a win and keep making more money.