Charter quietly offering Sling TV-like streaming bundle to Midwestern customers, report says

Charter Communications (NASDAQ: CHTR) appears to be quietly introducing a streaming skinny bundle of TV channels, similar to Dish Network's (NASDAQ: DISH) Sling TV service, according to DSLReports.

A user in Saint Peters, Mo., for example, told DSLReports about a letter from Charter offering a product called "Spectrum TV Stream." For $12.99 and no long-term commitment, Charter would deliver a Roku 3 box, local broadcast channels, plus Showtime or HBO. For an additional $7 a month, customers could receive a package of top cable channels, including ESPN, Discovery Channel, FX, ABC Family, AMC and TBS (but no TNT). 

Another user told DSLReports that the full price tag reached $27.50, with tax and broadcast surcharges.

This PDF appears to describe the program offering. The limited number of broadcast stations included are all situated in the Midwest and cover all the major networks. 

Charter representatives did not immediately respond to questions from FierceCable about the offering, including when it launched and whether the company plans to expand availability.

The product appears to be similar to Dish's Sling TV, which streams a selection of top cable channels for a base price of $19.99 a month.

Comcast (NASDAQ: CMCSA) is also testing a similar product in Boston, Xfinity Stream, which also includes the broadcast networks and HBO, but for a price of $15.99 a month. 

Charter executives have expressed concerns about the skinny bundle concept. However, in recent months, they appear to have warmed up to it.

For example, during the MSO's second quarter earnings call, Charter President and CEO Tom Rutledge said, "People don't have houses, don't have big screen TVs, don't have money and you put all that together and the only way to get access to video is through over-the-top or small screen kinds of video services. That doesn't mean that the big products aren't desirable. It just means that they're very expensive and that people's lifestyles are putting them in a situation where they don't have access to them and those lives -- and a lot of that is a function of the economic situation."

For more:
- read this DSLReports story

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