By Phillip Swann
The TV Answer Man – @tvanswerman
TV Answer Man, can you explain why Spectrum just offered us a free trial to Fubo like it was some big deal? Anyone can get a free trial from Fubo! What is Spectrum trying to pull? Do they think we’re all dumb?! — Gene, town withheld.
Gene, the carriage dispute between Spectrum TV and Disney today enters its 10th full day with no end in sight. The cable operator’s 15 million video subscribers are still without the 26 Disney-owned channels, including ESPN, ABC affiliates in seven markets, FX, Freeform and many others. The two companies are battling over everything from the standard carriage fee for each channel to whether Spectrum, owned by Charter, should be permitted to NOT offer ESPN in less-expensive programming packages designed for cord-cutters. (ESPN’s inclusion requires Charter to increase a plan’s price to offset the cost of the carriage fee. Networks are paid based on how many subscribers have access to their channels, not by how many actually watch.)
The skirmish has already seen some interesting and unprecedented moves by each company. Disney has sliced $20 off the first three months of its Hulu Live plan to woo Spectrum TV customers while Spectrum has actually offered the rival TV service, Fubo, to its subscribers at a discount. But during the weekend, Spectrum went a step farther by sending out a customer message saying its customers could get a free trial to Fubo. “Since Disney has removed its channels, we would like to offer you a FREE trial from our preferred streaming TV partner, Fubo, Visit Fubotv.com/offer.”
That sounds like a special deal, right? The problem is that the Spectrum offer of a seven-day free trial is not special at all. Anyone can go to Fubo to get that free trial – and it’s been available for a few years. You don’t have to be a Spectrum customer to get it. Gene, I can’t explain why Charter is offering something its subs can already get. Perhaps the company thinks that its customers aren’t aware of that and will appreciate the offer coming from them.
That would be my best guess. Hope that helps. Happy viewing and stay safe!
Have a question about new TV technologies? Send it to The TV Answer Man at email@example.com Please include your first name and hometown in your message.
— Phillip Swann