Cable Companies Rolling Out Streaming-Like Skinny Bundles

In an attempt to stop the hemorrhaging of customers at a frightening pace, cable companies are starting to introduce packages similar to what drew customers away from them in the first place.

As the news came down that cable saw its worst quarter in history, losing a record 780,000 customers, companies like Time Warner Cable and Comcast are rolling out skinny bundles that have limited channels, but a rock bottom price. Customers who don’t plan on paying over $100 for a cable package that includes say, four ESPN networks, are probably much more likely to pay out $20 or $30 a month for a package with just ESPN. The fact that ESPN is included in many skinny bundles is interesting, because sports was one area that people didn’t want to pay extra for. But, that just shows how willing people are to cut cable.

Channels like Disney, Fox, TNT, TBS, and Fox networks are often a part of these packages, while Viacom, Discovery, and A&E Networks are having a little more trouble agreeing on pricing terms. The latter channels often look for a high price, and adding those channels drives up the price of the package overall.

Of course, cable companies aren’t the only ones getting in on the action of letting customers pay for only what they want. Just last year, CBS launched their “All Access” streaming service, which provided current and old CBS content, plus exclusive access to The Good Fight, a spinoff of the popular The Good Wife series.

This change in the landscape really does show how different things are becoming. Once access to cheaper television became available by streaming companies, traditional cable had to react if they wanted to retain some customers. And hopefully, the competition between streaming television and “traditional” television will only keep things getting better – and cheaper.