ESPN Says Verizon’s New Custom FiOS TV Packages Violate Existing Contract
Well, it sure didn't take long for the complaints to roll in. On Friday, we reported that Verizon would begin allowing FiOS TV customers to pick and choose channels on an a la carte basis, which is a great thing. Interestingly, the Canadian CRTC last month announced that beginning in 2016, cable providers would be required to offer a la carte offerings, so the appeal is clear. And let's face it, with the advent of services like Netflix, that might be the only way these cable providers could possibly attract new customers.
Nonetheless, ESPN is raising a stink about Verizon's move, as it says it would be in breach of contract. The Wall Street Journal writes, "ESPN said that Verizon does not have the right to place ESPN or ESPN 2 into separate sports tiers that aren’t part of the core package."
It's being said that Verizon could have jumped the gun on the launch of this FiOS TV update, as the two parties might not have even fleshed out all of the details quite yet. That makes me wonder if other channel providers are experiencing the same contractual issues and will speak up soon.
As someone who has no interest in a cable TV subscription (I have one that I don't use - just because it's free with a bundle), I think ESPN should begin thinking long and hard about realizing what's going on here: people are getting fed-up with cable TV when online options are vastly superior. ESPN should thus make a move to begin offering online subscriptions that don't require a cable TV package to access. I'd be personally very interested in such a service, because otherwise, I'm not watching it.
One thing's for certain, the next couple of years are going to be very interesting on both the cable TV and online subscription front.