Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Viacom CEO: $20 Skinny Bundles 'Inevitable'

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish thinks it won’t be long before entertainment-focused bundles priced lower than many new skinny bundles will be a reality, reports

Bob Bakish
Speaking Tuesday at a Deutsche Bank investor event, Bakish said most of the new skinny bundles coming from DirecTV, YouTube and Hulu are all priced around $40 and heavy on broadcast and sports. He said what the U.S. needs is a compelling lower-priced option, an entertainment pack which he predicted would focus on programmers like Viacom and be priced from the low teens to $20.

“We can’t say exactly when it will happen, but we feel it’s inevitable,” Bakish said, adding that Viacom is currently in conversations with lots of companies about such an offering.

For example, Bakish pointed toward Europe, where operators like Sky sell packs focused on sports and entertainment, and noted that Sky’s entertainment pack is at 100% penetration.

He said that in the U.S., pay-TV penetration sits around 84%, and OTT will be a catalyst for price decline and market segmentation.

Of course, the type of skinny bundle he’s describing would be almost the complete opposite of YouTube TV, YouTube's recently announced live TV streaming service that focuses heavily on broadcast content and sports and is priced at $35 per month.

In fact, YouTube TV is almost completely devoid of many of the core general and fairly niche entertainment channels that might be featured in the bundle Bakish described. Core networks from Viacom, Time Warner Inc., Discovery, Scripps, AMC and others were not included in YouTube TV at launch.

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