Verizon FiOS is mulling a big change in TV content carriage for small and mid-tier networks, with a plan to pay for content on a usage-based model.
Verizon's lead programming negotiator, Terry Denson, told the Wall Street Journal that under the plan Verizon would pay only when a subscriber tunes in for at least five minutes at a stretch. He also said that the IPTV provider wants to begin charging its FiOS TV subscribers only for the channels they actually watch.
The scheme lowers Verizon's costs and would give it flexibility to roll out more personalisable bundles for consumers.
Smaller channels would also reap the rewards of being successful and are given a better chance against the niche channels that media behemoths force pay-tv distributors to take in order to get a decent deal on top-rated sister fare. For instance, to carry AMC, operators must also carry (and pay for) the IFC Network. That doesn't necessarily mean they will be able to pick and choose their channel line-up (aka à la carte pricing), but it should decrease the number of frivolous channels no one cares about.
Verizon plans to gauge the level of interest for each channel via the set-top boxes that its 4.7 million FiOS customers have at home, in a move that would cut Nielsen out of the ratings measurement process and put it into the hands of a Verizon proprietary approach.