News and Analysis
Discovery CEO David Zaslav must not have heard of Netflix.

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The programming executive yesterday said companies, such as his own, are likely to soon offer a $10 online programming bundle that does not include sports, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Speaking to the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York, Zaslav did not name specific channels that might be part of this bundle, nor when it would be launched.

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But Viacom, which owns Comedy Central, MTV and more than a dozen other channels, might be part of the offering. Viacom executives have also publicly discussed the possibility of offering a low-priced, non-sports programming bundle online.

“I think there will be (a $10 bundle) and should be a small bundle in the U.S. that offers not everything, but it’s got some stuff,” Zaslav said yesterday, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

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He added that current ‘skinny’ bundles offered by live streaming services such as DIRECTV Now (starts at $35 a month), PlayStation Vue (starts at $29.99 a month) and Sling TV (starts at $20 a month) are still too expensive for some cost-conscious consumers. Once you include the cost of Internet, Zaslav notes, the live streaming service could still require a monthly outlay of $70-100.

“That’s not a skinny bundle,” he said.

By excluding sports channels from the bundle, which usually charge high carriage fees, a company, or group of companies, could offer a few dozen channels for considerably less money.

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Of course, that’s what Netflix does, and has done exceedingly well, for several years. The Netflix entry price for its streaming library is $8.99 a month, and Amazon and Hulu charge roughly the same for their online Video on Demand programming. The three services are able to do so because, yes, they don’t offer sports. (Not yet anyway.).

Discovery and Viacom might be able to cobble together a programming service that seems affordable and attractive. But it’s hard to envision many consumers jumping for their wallets when they already have three of those services available.

— Phillip Swann