Web-based TV services were supposed to cater to cord cutters and others looking for alternatives to the expensive cable bundle. Now it looks like as if these services are going to be just as pricey as cable. The New York Post reported Sunday that Sony is looking at a $60 to $80 price tag for its TV service, which is supposed to launch before the end of the year, according to the paper.
And [company]Dish[/company]’s internet TV service, which is likely going to be called Nutv, may not be that much cheaper — at least not if you want access to local channels as well. Dish is looking to offer broadcast channels like ABC and NBC for an extra fee on top of the basic subscription price, according to a Variety report.
Breaking out broadcast channels as a separate tier could help Dish to still cater to price-conscious consumers willing to go the extra mile: The company may offer cable channels like Comedy Central as part of its streaming service, and ask consumers to instead get an antenna capable of receiving broadcast channels like NBC for free if they don’t want to pay extra for these local channels. Dish has already struck deals with Disney, A+E Networks and Scripps Networks, and is reportedly targeting a monthly subscription fee of $30 or less.
It’s unclear how much a premium local channels would represent, and whether broadcasters are even willing to split up their networks in this way. Traditionally, broadcasters have tied together broadcast and networks to big bundles, forcing cable operators to include everything in their line-up.
The same kind of carriage bundles seem to now also affect Sony’s TV service. [company]Sony[/company] recently announced a deal with Viacom that will add a total 22 networks to the online service. This includes sought-after networks like Comedy Central and MTV, but also less-desirable properties like VH1 Soul, BET Gospel and Palladia. It’s no surprise that Sony will have to charge consumers a lot if it buys similar bundles from other programmers — but you have to wonder why consumers would want to give their money to Sony as opposed to Comcast or Charter if lineup and price are virtually indistinguishable.