Windstream, the wireline telco spin off from Alltel, announced a partnership with TiVo for a bundled high speed Internet and DVR combination. Windstream plans to market the interactive bundle as differentiated video service, providing broadband, access to broadband video content, and traditional DVR service for linear television viewing. TiVo offers a broad mix of broadband video content, including TiVoCast and Amazon’s Unbox service. This announcement is the second one within a week featuring a broadband TV launch for a large U.S. telco.
These deployments could be viewed as “pushing the envelope” of traditional entertainment bundles. The line between traditional multichannel video subscriptions and broadband TV appears to be graying by the week. Is it conceivable that a subscriber could choose a broadband TV enabled TiVO, over a traditional pay TV subscription? Maybe, but probably not – at least not yet. It’s more conceivable (at least in the short term) that subscribers will view this new bundle as complimentary to their subscription TV service. But as Internet content continues to flourish and search capabilities mature, an all broadband TV option may gain traction. TiVo is working to position itself as a potential solution of choice for this possibility. And telcos continue to explore the options of video services beyond traditional video subscription models. We can’t draw any firm conclusions from these trials yet. But they are interesting developments to study. We may be witnessing the early transformation of long standing video business models. Stay tuned.