Charter Communications (NASDAQ:CHTR) plans to launch Spectrum TV Essentials, an Internet-delivered over-the-top (OTT) video service, to be made available exclusively in Charter's footprint to Spectrum Internet customers who don't already subscribe to Spectrum video services.
Slated to launch by the end of March, Spectrum TV Essentials will include more than 60 live lifestyle, entertainment and news channels, and access to all of the associated on-demand content those networks make available. It will not include local broadcast or sports programming. Charter reached separate agreements with programming partners including Viacom, Discovery, A&E, AMC and Hallmark to create the new offering.
"Spectrum TV Essentials is an OTT offering designed to provide Spectrum Internet-only customers a new low-price, high-value video option," said Tom Rutledge, Charter chairman and CEO. "As we began to assemble the rights for this new video service, we received great enthusiasm and encouragement from these key programming partners, who share our view and embrace creating an innovative video offering we believe will resonate with our Internet customers. Notably, Viacom shared its strong belief and research that suggests there is a large untapped opportunity for a low-priced, entertainment-only bundle unencumbered by the high cost of broadcast retransmission consent fees and expensive sports programming."
"We're thrilled to expand and deepen our relationship with Charter. They share both our commitment to the evolution of the the pay TV ecosystem as well as our understanding of the changing needs of consumers," said Bob Bakish, Viacom president and CEO. "As the video marketplace continues to segment across price points and offerings, we believe a high quality, lower priced option for Internet-only subscribers is very important. We're excited to have our global brands as part of Spectrum TV Essentials at launch."
At launch, Spectrum TV Essentials will be available for $14.99 plus tax, with no additional fees or installation charge. The entire TV Essentials lineup will be available through the Spectrum TV App on all supported mobile and connected devices - iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung smart TVs and computers via SpectrumTV.com. Spectrum TV App provides an interactive viewing experience, allowing customers to browse shows and movies by category or network, aggregate a "Watch List" of favorite content, set parental controls and more. In the coming months, Charter plans to introduce a cloud DVR service on the Spectrum TV App.