BELD stops selling cable TV, cites ‘costs beyond our control’

BELD is getting out of the cable television business. (BELD Internet)

BELD Internet, a small broadband provider in Massachusetts, is joining the ranks of operators who have given up on selling cable television.

“As of December 2, 2019, BELD will no longer offer cable television service due to costs beyond our control,” said BELD General Manager Bill Bottiggi in a statement. “So, for any Braintree [Massachusetts] resident thinking about cutting the cord, now’s the time and we’ll coach you through it with straightforward, step-by-step guidance.”

In alignment with its service shift, BELD is rolling out a program called “K.O. Cable,” which promises to educate consumers about cutting the cord and replacing traditional TV service with streaming video. The campaign said that consumers can get rid of channels they don’t want, cable wires and “unwieldy boxes (and they’re rental fees)” to save $100 or more each month.

RELATED: Pay TV operators brace for an app-based future

BELD is not the first operator to question the economics of selling pay TV. Many others have sought less cost-intensive alternatives or have ditched cable all together. WOW! has begun selling virtual MVPD Philo directly to its customers. Cable One said offering video services doesn’t help with churn. One small operator in Montana, 3 Rivers Communications, said it’s going to throw in the towel all together on video.

Other providers have opted for app-based video distribution platforms that help them keep up with the rapid innovation cycles set by larger providers like Comcast. MobiTV Connect is one of those solutions. Connect has been picked by 90 operators since first launching 2016 and earlier this year the company raised another $50 million in funding from Oak Investment Partners, Ally Financial, and Cedar Grove Partners to help pay for international expansion.

As providers weigh their options, consumers are increasingly canceling their subscriptions to pay TV services. Leichtman Research Group in August dropped its quarterly assessment of the U.S. pay TV subscriber base, and found that the top seven cable providers lost about 455,000 subscribers combined and the two U.S. satellite providers, DirecTV and Dish Network, together lost 857,000 subscribers.