UPDATED: Verizon Ditches Cable Bundles and Contracts, Offers New “Mix & Match” Options With No Surcharges and Sports Network Fees for NEW Customers Only

[Updated Jan 11th: While not mentioned by Verizon, if you are a current Verizon customer you can’t make any changes to your account via phone. You have to use the Verizon website, which is HORRIBLE and tries to add new set-top-boxes and even assign me a new phone number, when I already one. You also can’t continue to use cable cards, which isn’t mentioned anywhere. The press release also says there are no fees on top of the costs, other than tax, but they are fees still for each cable box and for a router.]

Thanks to the impact of all the OTT services in the market and the number of options consumers have for getting their video fix, Verizon announced they are doing away with FiOS bundles and contracts, and allowing customers to pick and choose options for TV, internet and phone.

As a current customer of Verizon’s triple-play bundle for FiOS, I pay $109 a month, before taxes and fees. Under the new plan, I would pay $110 a month before taxes and fees. So initially the pricing is the same with no savings. But Verizon has also announced that all of the new “Mix & Match” options have “no added surcharges, no broadcast or regional sports network fees.” Verizon will charge only state and local tax on top of the new options. Removal of all the surcharges and sports network fees would save me $31.38 per month. And if you also happen to be Verizon Wireless customer, there is also an option to save $10 or $20 per month, depending on your plan, by joining Verizon’s Mobile+Home Rewards program.

Under the new “Mix & Match” options, customers can pick from 100 Mbps, 300 Mbps or Gigabit internet, costing from $39.99 per month up to $79.99 per month. TV options include $50 per month for 125+ channels, $70 per month for 300+ channels or $70 per month for 425+ channels. You can also add a landline for $20 a month.

Verizon is also offering a YouTube TV option for $50 a month. So if you wanted live TV via streaming, plus 100Mbps Internet connection, your cost would be $90 a month, before taxes. Note though that YouTube TV has a limit of 3 simultaneous streams from one account, so if a family of 3 or more all needs to watch content at the same time, you’d run into a limitation.

Verizon’s change towards triple-play bundling is just another example of how OTT continues to disrupt the pay TV market and provide more options for consumers. While the flexibility and no contract tie in is a good thing, for those not taking pay TV to begin with, Verizon’s news doesn’t lower their costs. And as most live streaming services continue to raise pricing each year, don’t expect OTT services to go down in price at any point. Content is expensive to license and produce, so we should expect to see additional price increases ahead.

Call For Speakers Open for NAB Show Streaming Summit, Closing Soon

I am actively placing speakers for the next NAB Show Streaming Summit, taking place Monday April 20th and Tuesday April 21st, in Las Vegas. The two-day show will once again be in the North Hall and have close to 100 speakers across fireside chats, technical best practices presentations and round table panels. [Submit here: The deadline for submissions is January 17th] If you are interested in moderating a session or would like sponsorship details, or discuss your submission idea before you send it in, please call me any time at 917-523-4562 or email me at dan@danrayburn.com

Streaming activities at the NAB Show are expanding greatly this year, with the inclusion of the “Streaming Experience“, a new demo area where attendees can test out over 50 OTT platforms and devices, in a living room style setting. We’ll also have a big Beer Garden networking event on Monday April 20th, so save the date!

New Podcast: D2C Streaming Service Launches, My First Impressions

Thanks to Beamr for having me back on their Video Insiders podcast to share my first impressions on the state of the new D2C video streaming services. With significant M&A activity closed, and press briefings completed, there is a lot to discuss. Today, new services launching are having investor days where before the service goes live, companies are projecting to investors when these services will become profitable. Talk about a shift in our industry. Hear my thoughts on why the stakes are higher than ever for all streaming services.

Amazon Acquires QoE Streaming Tech From Net Insight For $33.5M

As expected, on January 3rd, Net Insight announced they have divested their streaming technology product Sye, by selling the business to Amazon for $33.5M. The Sye technology was already being used by Amazon Prime Video for many of their live streaming events and works to reduce end-to-end latency, sync video across multiple channels and allow instant channel changes. [see my post here: A Detailed Look At How Net Insight Syncs Live Streams Across Devices] The tech also has some dynamic server-side ad insertion, metadata synchronization and time-shift functionality. Sye generated less than $2M in revenue for Net Insight in 2019 and Amazon was their largest customer making up the majority of their revenue. Net Insight disclosed that to date, they had “invested around $22.9M” in the product. About 30 employees and consultants have been transferred to Amazon in the deal. Sye was built on top of Microsoft Azure, so it’s an easy assumption that Amazon will now further integrate the technology into their Amazon Web Services platform.

Announcing the “Streaming Experience”, a New OTT Demo Area at the NAB Show in Las Vegas

I’m very excited to announce the “Streaming Experience“, a new hands-on area at the NAB Show in Las Vegas where you can test out over 50 OTT platforms and devices, in a living room style setting. Taking over the North Hall lobby April 19-22, I will be curating and showcasing the best SVOD, AVOD, live linear and authenticated OTT apps.

From Netflix, Amazon and Hulu to new services by Disney and Apple, consumers now have many choices of where to get their video fix. But what are the REAL differences between these services from a quality, content and cost standpoint? See and compare:

    • Video quality: compression, HDR and 4K
    • Content bundling strategies
    • Video delivery: low-latency and QoS
    • Ad formats: pre/post roll in live and SVOD
    • Connected TV advertising
    • Playback and UI/UX

If you’re interested in sponsoring The Streaming Experience or having your content featured, please contact me directly and check out the website for more details.

The Streaming Experience will feature hardware from Amazon, Apple, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation, LG, TCL, and Samsung – all showcasing dozens of streaming apps including: Disney+, Apple TV+, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, CBS All Access, YouTube TV, AT&T TV, Sling TV, ESPN+, HBO Now, Showtime, Epix, Discovery, Fubo TV, Acorn TV, IMDb TV, Tubi, WWE, MLB.TV, NHL.TV, NBA TV, MLS, DAZN, FOX Sports, NBC Sports, The Roku Channel and many others. New services from HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi will also be showcased, depending on their launch dates. We’ll also have many of these companies speaking during the two-day Streaming Summit.