Cablevision seems to understand that cord cutting isn’t a fad.
The company announced on Tuesday that it will begin to offer both Showtime and CBS’s new standalone streaming services to its internet subscribers, allowing them to watch programming from the two networks without subscribing to a traditional TV package and renting a set-top box.
Although people can already subscribe to the services through the apps or through a Roku set top box, Cablevision will become the first cable company to sell them directly to its broadband subscribers.
Both CBS All Access, as well as Showtime’s standalone service (CBS is the parent company of Showtime) are aimed at the growing number of people who pay for internet service but don’t pay for TV service. These so-called cord cutters instead stream video online from services like Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, and Sling TV.
So as you can imagine, TV providers aren’t exactly lining up to sell their customers packages that include standalone streaming services because they’d much rather sell you Showtime as part of a larger and more expensive cable bundle.
Most TV providers, like DirecTV, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and Charter, see that their subscribers are already cancelling, many choosing to watch programming on streaming services — the top eight providers lost 463,000 subscribers in the last quarter of the year, according to estimates from the investment banking firm Pacific Crest Securities — so they have little reason to make it easier to access these services.
But Cablevision, which sells its consumer TV and broadband services under the name Optimum, seems to take a different approach.
Cablevision, which is the fifth largest cable operator (its footprint includes the New York metro area as well as parts of Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana), struck a deal with Hulu earlier this year to make the streaming service accessible on its set top box, so subscribers of both Cablevision and Hulu won’t have to switch inputs when switching between the services.
Cablevision was also the first pay TV provider to offer HBO Now, HBO’s standalone streaming service, to its subscribers. (Verizon also offers it now, but Verizon is much more a wireless company than a TV and wired broadband provider.)
Cablevision executives have said in statements in the past that they want to be where the customers are, which is increasingly online.
“We are well-positioned to support HBO NOW and, as technology advances, Cablevision will continue to meet the evolving needs of our customers,” Kristin Dolan, Cablevision’s COO, said in a statement earlier this year.
And since Cablevision already provides broadband internet, which is not only more profitable than TV, but also a requirement if people want to stream, it makes sense for them to make their broadband packages “stickier” and more appealing.
Cable companies know that the more services a subscriber pays for the less likely he or she are to quit. For years, people have been getting discounts from the cable companies for the so-called “triple play” — TV, voice, and broadband.
Maybe Cablevision will offer a “triple play” that includes HBO Now, Showtime, and broadband.
Neither company announced a price or date of availability for the services, but Showtime’s streaming service costs $US10.99 per month when you sign up through devices like the Apple TV or Roku, and CBS’s costs $US5.99 per month.
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