Although many current pay TV providers offer set packages to customize your subscription level, cable company Verizon are looking to expand that model to a level that could offer a pay per channel option.
A report in The Wall Street Journal says that Verizon is looking at a new subscription system that pays providers based on the number of viewers that watch a particular channel, rather than the current system.
At present Verizon, who offer customers streaming TV via the Fios service, pay based on how popular a channel is perceived to be. So for example, ESPN will get more money per subscriber than a less popular channel. But some viewers may be paying for channels that they never watch. As Verizon Fios TV chief programming negotiator Terry Denson said to the WSJ, “We are paying for a customer who never goes to the channel,”
So they are looking to shake things up. Their plan is to pay providers if a viewer watches a channel for at least five minutes, but if they don’t then Verizon would not pay.
The plans are at a very early stage right now, but if Verizon can achieve a pay per channel, then viewers could in theory cut that cable bill. Even better, viewers could cherry pick the channels they are interested in and drop channels that never get visited anyway.
One thing is for sure. As internet TV services improve and offer better value, cable and satellite will need to modify their antique subscription model, or viewers will start migrating even faster to streaming services on the web.