Charter announced today the launch of Spectrum TV Essentials, a streaming video product priced at $15 per month and offering 60 live channels. This is a new Charter OTT strategy aimed at targeting cord cutters who are increasingly looking for alternative streaming TV options.
Launching at the end of March, Spectrum TV Essentials will be available as an app on a variety of platforms, including iOS and Android phones and tablets, Apple TV, Roku, Xbox One, Amazon Kindle Fire, Samsung Smart TVs and computers via SpectrumTV.com.
The service will be available across Charter’s footprint to Spectrum Internet customers only, who according to a Charter press release “don’t already subscribe to Spectrum video services.” It’s not clear what that actually means. Can an existing video customer drop legacy video and switch to the OTT option?
“Spectrum TV Essentials is an OTT offering designed to provide Spectrum Internet-only customers a new low-price, high-value video option,” said Tom Rutledge, Charter Chairman and CEO in a prepared statement. “As we began to assemble the rights for this new video service, we received great enthusiasm and encouragement from these key programming partners, who share our view and embrace creating an innovative video offering we believe will resonate with our internet customers.”
Charter joins other multichannel video providers including AT&T and DISH, who have offered streaming options in addition to their legacy video products. Charter is targeting customers who only subscribe to Internet with a new video choice that competes with DIRECTV NOW, Sling, YouTube TV, and a host of others.
Spectrum TV Essentials is currently priced well below these options, with two very important caveats. Spectrum TV Essentials will not carry local broadcast channels in their line-up, at least not yet. Main line sports networks,including ESPN and regional sports networks are also absent. The line up does include networks from Viacom, Discovery, A&E, AMC and Hallmark. A complete channel line-up list can be found here.
It’s illustrative of a rapidly evolving video landscape where service providers are experimenting with the right mix of products to appeal to a varying audience, some of which still prefer the legacy experience, with others looking for more value-based convenience.
By bundling this value-priced video offer with Spectrum Internet, Charter is also looking to add value to their Internet service, perhaps creating some competitive differentiation there as well.