The cord cutting market is on the rise like never before, and telecom giant Bell is trying to get in on the action. The company announced this week that they were launching a new “Alt TV” mobile app that lets subscribers watch Bell TV channels live on a smart phone, tablet or laptop, with no cable box required.
As the number of Canadians dropping traditional cable TV continues to increase (in 2016, 220,000 fewer people subscribed to cable in Canada), cable companies are scrambling to hold on to some of their customers. Bell Canada’s entry in the market launched Monday, and right now is only available to customers who also subscribe to Bell’s Fibe high speed home internet service.
The feature doesn’t exactly come cheap though, costing an extra $15 a month. And when you consider that Alt TV is only available to Fibe internet customers with an unlimited usage plan (the cheapest of which costs $84.95 a month), this isn’t necessarily a “budget” option. But customers are already signing up.
An while Alt TV doesn’t have all the features of a traditional Bell cable subscription (users can’t pause live TV, record shows or watch multiple screens at once), it does have about 30 channels available, right in line with that most streaming television services have. And up to 500 channels are available to added for an additional cost, including a $25 sports package with TSN and Sportsnet and a $20 movie package with HBO and The Movie Network.
Bell isn’t alone in the rollout of this app, following competitor Telus, who just launched a similar product called Pik TV.
The cable landscape is changing, and customers simply aren’t going to pay for channels they don’t watch any more. And as customers leave big cable in droves, changes are going to be necessary. And when it comes to customers, competition only makes things better.