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Week In Review: Another Small MVPD Drops Pay TV, Amazon Makes The NFL Fancy

1. Another Small MVPD Drops Pay TV

BELD, a small internet provider in the Boston area is dropping its proprietary pay TV service, claiming the costs had gotten wicked expensive. They will, however, help their customers make the switch to streaming service and/or vMVPDs, though they have not picked a specific vMVPD to partner with. 

Why It Matters

BELD is not the first small broadband provider to go down this route, nor, we we suspect, will they be the last.

Maintaining your own pay TV service can be, as BELD learned, an expensive proposition, not to mention a major hassle and time suck.

Once upon a time these issues would have been secondary—any broadband provider looking to obtain and retain customers needed a pay TV offering so that they could be competitive with larger services and the assumption was that just about everyone wanted some kind of pay TV package.

This is clearly no longer the case.

While (to beat our favorite dead horse) cord cutting has not yet become an issue, there are close to 10 million people who have already discovered the joys of vMVPD services, which with 80+ channel bundles and local RSNs galore provide an easy, painless and much less expensive way to indulge in one’s cable TV addiction without having to install a set top box

That is why, as the Flixcopalypse becomes real, we fully expect that many more smaller broadband providers will stop offering their own pay TV packages and cut deals with the various Flixes and vMVPDs in order to provide their customers with thoroughly modern form of the TV bundle, something that will play a major part in The Great Rebundling.

It’s sort of what MobiTV is already doing, creating bespoke digitally delivered pay TV services for  smaller providers, only there may be an advantage to actually providing users with access to a service like Hulu Live TV or YouTube TV if there’s a perceived value or “coolness quotient” to those services.

Or, it may turn out that no one is much interested in non-Flix TV beyond the major broadcast and 24 hour news networks, in which case a very low-priced super skinny bundle will be the ticket.

We’ll find out soon enough.

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re one of the 800+ broadband providers who aren’t one of the top 10 MVPDs, then maybe it’s time to ask yourself if there’s any real value to maintaining your own pay TV service.

If you’re a vMVPD, time to step up your marketing efforts to NCTC members—this could be an easy win. 

If you’re dissatisfied with your current broadband provider and are looking to save money, this could be an opportune time to switch.

2. Amazon Makes The NFL Fancy

Amazon is broadcasting NFL games on Thursday nights these days and they’re adding all sorts of bells and whistles, including their popular X-Ray feature, which provides stats plus background and other information as an overlay during broadcasts.

Why It Matters

There hasn’t been much of a reason yet for consumers to feel good about digital players like Amazon taking on NFL broadcasts.

There are all sorts of business reasons the NFL might feel good about it—Amazon can, for instance, place Tom Brady jerseys on the homepage of New England-based users who tune in to Patriots games and then adjust the price to see what the optimal price point is to get people to bite. They can do similar type tweaking with many other factors—time, device, location—in order to help the NFL sell more jerseys.

They can also identify whether people who watch NFL games are more likely to order Bounty or Viva paper towels so that the NFL’s ad sales team can use that data to sell more spots.

And now, they can make viewers happy by providing them with the sorts of digital extras that the industry has been promising for close to a decade.

The Lucky Strike Extra here is that Amazon’s X-Ray is a well-designed and easy to use feature that’s actually useful, unlike so many digital attempts at second screen. While not every viewer wants to scroll through stats during time outs, the ability to do so will likely make many NFL more amenable to watching on Amazon. Especially if, as a Twitter friend recently asserted, the lag time between Amazon and cable is fairly minimal. (During the Super Bowl it was as long as 90 seconds.)

What You Need To Do About It

If you’re a viewer, check out Amazon’s broadcast and let us know what you think of the X-Ray feature

If you’re an advertiser, and NFL fans are in your wheelhouse, Amazon’s got a whole boatload of data on them now.

If you’re a sports league, football isn’t the only sport where fans will dig a feature like X-Ray. Could be worth looking into.