Viacom CEO remains confident less-than-$20 skinny bundle coming this year

Bob Bakish
Bob Bakish. Image: Viacom

Viacom CEO Bob Bakish still sounds sure that an entertainment-only skinny bundle priced less than $20 is coming this calendar year.

Talking with CNBC, Bakish said that omitting broadcast networks and sports will allow the bundle to have the lowest price possible, which will be necessary to attract consumers outside of the pay-TV ecosystem.

"With a 30% margin you can price it in the low-teens to up to $20 depending on how much product. Our sense is you want to be at the lower end of that price point to really have something to appeal to cord-nevers and again create a catalyst at that entry point in the market," Bakish said.

Bakish added that while there’s no real comparable for a skinny bundle priced at under $20, big demand for Netflix, which is priced around $10 per month, indicates that a number of consumers are drawn to programming packages at that price point.

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For months now, Bakish has been touting the market potential of a nonsports channel bundle. He has said that such a bundle would likely integrate over-the-air signals for the major broadcast networks as a means of keeping programming costs lower.

“We fundamentally believe a lower-price offering would be very compelling,” said Bakish, adding that it would likely not involve all of Viacom’s channels.

Other programmers like Discovery have also suggested that a lower-priced nonsports bundle is a smart move for the future. Discovery CEO David Zaslav has been careful to point out that pay-TV doesn’t want to take on Netflix directly with a skinny bundle, but that service providers need a package priced similarly to Netflix in order to properly address the market segment looking for entertainment bundles in the $10-$20 range.

“That’s what’s worked everywhere else in the world,” Zaslav said, adding that channel bundles without sports are accelerators for the pay-TV market everywhere in the world.