Recently, Verizon released their own skinny bundle TV package allowing for FiOS customers to choose from list of TV channels along with an option for adding a variety of channel packs. According to Verizon’s CFO, the skinny package has struggled to gain much traction with customers as only 9,000 new customers opted for the skinny bundle.
But what caught my eye was how much trouble Verizon had with TV networks airing ads for the Verizon skinny bundle. During Verizon’s quarterly earnings call, Verizon’s CFO talked about how TV networks were blacking out the ads in a number of key markets.
Demand for the skinny bundles may have been more pronounced had Verizon’s Custom TV ads not been rejected by a number of networks and cable operators. “Given the disputes we had, we were blocked out from many content providers in advertising the product,” Mr. Shammo said. “And in New York and Philadelphia, we were unable to advertise the Custom TV package for approximately 45 days until we worked through that. – Ad Age
This isn’t new as I found out while looking into this issue. In April, Bloomberg reported on Disney’s official rejection of the ads by Verizon. According to Disney and other TV networks, Verizon didn’t have the “right to offer” their channels on select TV bundles.
When CBS was in the middle of a lawsuit with Dish Network over Dish’s new ad-skipping DVR, CBS forced an actress to remove a tweet of hers from her personal account in support of the new DVR. When CBS was dealing with TiVO’s popularity in 2001, they simply denied TiVO the ability to buy air time.
Cable companies are far from any different though as we have seen in the last few years. Two years ago, Charter refused to allow an Antenna company to buy air time on their cable channels since people could then watch network TV without a pay TV subscription.
On the whole, this sounds about right when it comes to how TV networks deal with consumer-friendly technology: Pretend it doesn’t exist….File suit if it gets popular….Purchase fake support from paid groups for PR support…..Steal technology if they win the lawsuit.