Verizon Communications introduced Thursday a set of new packages for its FiOS TV service that allows customers to choose the networks they watch, an acknowledgment that many TV fans only view a limited number of channels.
FiOS Custom TV comes with a $ 55-a-month base package of channels that includes local broadcast stations and the most popular channels, including CNN, HGTV, AMC and Food Network. Subscribers also get two of the seven genre-specific channel packs — kids, pop culture, lifestyle, entertainment, news & info, sports and sports plus.
Each additional pack cost $ 10 extra per month. After 30 days, customers can change their channel packs without any additional cost, Verizon said.
Subscribing to a popular TV-Internet combination — one that includes the base package and two channel packs and an Internet service of 50 megabits per second of upload and download speeds — will cost $ 75 a month before taxes and fees, Verizon said.
The sports pack includes ESPN and FOX Sports. But to get regional sports networks, customers also have to opt for the sports plus channel pack, which also comes with NFL Network, MLB Network, NBA TV, NHL Network and Golf Channel.
Shares of Verizon (VZ) fell 0.53% Wednesday to $ 49.01.
While a typical cable package contains more than a hundred channels, Americans watch on average only about 17 channels, Verizon said, citing Nielsen’s Advertising & Audience Report.
Verizon’s move is one of several experiments by the pay-TV industry to keep its video customers from flocking to streaming-only options provided by companies like Netflix and Hulu. For years, customers have complained about having to pay for the channels they don’t watch. The complexities involved in trying to figure out cable companies’ channel “bundles” also have soured many customers.
“This is an entirely new way to personalize TV,” said Tami Erwin, president of Verizon’s Consumer and Mass Business group, in a statement.