Sling TV seems to be causing waves in the traditional TV space because Verizon FiOS announced that it will be offering its FiOS TV customers greater choice by now allowing them to select from seven different $10 channel packages which can be added to a base channel lineup. Sound familiar? For a bundle price of $65 per month, customers get 35 base channels, their choice of two add-on channel packs, and internet service. The service was set to go live tomorrow, April 19th, but not if ESPN has anything to say about it. The cable sports network says Verizon’s new channel structure violates their existing contract with Verizon. With this new add-on based lineup, ESPN’s channels are relegated to a separate sports package. It appears ESPN’s contract with Verizon mandates that their channels must be included with FiOS’s base TV lineup.
Verizon is rumored to be gearing up to launch an internet TV service to compete with Sony’s Playstation Vue, Dish’s Sling TV, and the numerous other over-the-top services expected to arrive later this year. This new FiOS TV channel restructuring may be hinting at what we’ll see from Verizon in the near future. The argument raised by ESPN gives us insight into the sort of leverage the top cable networks have over these new TV services. Sling TV was praised for including ESPN’s channels in their base lineup, but it’s now looking like they may not have had a choice in the matter.