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Verizon’s Grand Plan to Reinvent Television with FiOS

March 19, 2013

By Gilbert Falso :: 11:07 PM

Verizon measuring what we watch, pay for.Verizon wants to change the way we all watch television. The telecommunications company is hoping to ditch the old models for good with its new fiber optic FiOS delivery system, and allow customers to only subscribe to and pay for the television channels that they actually watch.

While the company isn’t quite at the à la carte level of pricing structure yet, it intends to disrupt the traditional pay television industry by measuring customer interest in channels, and counting unique monthly viewers. If no one tunes in to certain channels, Verizon will remove them from the FiOS lineup.

Unlike traditional television measurement methods, Verizon’s analytics will not make use of Nielsen ratings or Nielsen technology, but the company will instead use its own set-top box technology to measure and track what channels customers watch each month.

According to reports in the Wall Street Journal, Verizon has been has been in talks with several middle and smaller tier media companies about contracting for channels based on audience size and viewing habits. This would be a different model than  existing arrangements for cable and satellite providers, who usually pay a monthly, per-subscriber fee for channels, regardless of the viewership.

Under Verizon’s plans, each channel would be compensated based on the number of FiOS subscribers that tuned in each month for a minimum of five minutes.

“If you are willing to give a channel five minutes of your time, the cash register would ring in favor of the programmer,” a Verizon spokesperson familiar with the negotiations told the Wall Street Journal.

One detail that isn’t likely to sit well with pay-TV customers however – FiOS subscribers’ cable bills aren’t likely to decrease under this new method. The shift might help to stabilize prices for consumers, according to Verizon, and keep those yearly rate increases in check, though.

FiOS television is the nation’s sixth-largest provider of pay television services, and boasts about 4 and a half million subscribers.