Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has sent a private memo to company employees detailing the cable operator’s plans for 2018, which include a two-way interactive set-top for all video subscriber homes that will offer Video on Demand and “multiple Internet-only services like Netflix.”
“By the end of 2018, every TV outlet we serve in a residential setting will have a two-way interactive set-top device on it with access to Video on Demand and multiple Internet-only services like Netflix,” says the Rutledge memo, which was dated January 12, 2018.
TVAnswerMan.com has obtained a copy of the Rutledge memo.
Rutledge has previously said his company plans to integrate Netflix into Charter set-tops, but has not offered specifics, such as a timetable, until now. The cable executive has also publicly suggested other Internet services, such as Hulu or YouTube, could be included with Netflix, but this is the first time he’s committed to “multiple” Internet-only offerings on Charter TV set-tops.
Like other pay TV providers, Charter’s video subscriber totals have taken a hit in recent years due to the proliferation of live and subscription Video on Demand services such as Netflix, Hulu, Sling TV and DIRECTV Now. By offering the services directly to the consumer, Charter could reduce the number of video subscriber defections.
As part of the two-way initiative, Rutledge says Charter will expand its Video on Demand lineup to 100,000 titles in 2018.
“We plan to take our VOD library to 100,000 titles so we really do need a good guide to find them. No one will have more!” the executive says.
Charter’s web site now says it offers 10,000 Video on Demand “choices.”
The Rutledge memo also offers several other nuggets about the company’s plans for the year, including:
* The launch of a 24-hour news channel.
“We will also build and launch a 24-hour local news channel in Los Angeles, Ohio, Kentucky, Wisconsin and Kansas City,” Rutledge writes.
* The expansion of 1-Gigabit Broadband service to “virtually everywhere we operate in 2018.”
In late 2017, Charter introduced the ultra-fast Internet service in a handful of markets.
* The launch of original content, produced in part with multiple programming partners.
“We will be starting to create original programming with AMC, Viacom and others, which will distinguish us from competitors,” writes Rutledge who has publicly disclosed the original content plans.
* The launch of a “mobile smart phone data business.”
“In the middle of the year, we plan to enter the mobile smart phone data business,” Rutledge writes. “Employee field trials are currently being conducted. This will be a big change, but extremely valuable because we will have state-of-the-art mobile services and handsets at great prices.”
— Phillip Swann