After initially promising to be a smarter cable company, startup Layer3 TV is pledging to be one of the more expensive ones, as well.
In fact, speaking to the Wall Street Journal, Layer3 Chief Content Officer Lindsay Gardner called the service — which will start out at $75 a month and include more than 200 channels — “concierge cable.”
With add-ons, the price for a Layer3 video package can well exceed $100. This isn't unheard of based on traditional pay-TV pricing. But then again, the industry has been steadily trying to climb down the pricing latter by reducing the size of its programming packages.
Also speaking in the same story, BTIG Research analyst Richard Greenfield said that the Denver-based company is “trying to skim the cream off the top of the industry.”
Layer3, which recently migrated beyond its Texas-based testing markets and launched in Chicago over Labor Day weekend, is approaching entry into the pay-TV business by emphasizing improved customer service and experience. It’s user interface, for example, is designed around search and discoverability. There’s a focus on providing HD channels, and 4K programming will soon be added. And its service technicians drive around in BMW i3s.
The company doesn’t believe in the pay-TV industry’s movement towards smaller channel bundles.
“There isn’t this whole migration away from the breadth of content that exists in the ecosystem,” Layer3 CEO Jeff Binder said to WSJ. “You’re not going to get anybody who has 250 channels from DirecTV to get rid of that and go to an iPad with 30 channels on it.”
So far, reaction from programmers to Layer3’s high-end market focus has been positive. “The interface is so cool and fast,” said Denise Denson, executive VP of content distribution for Viacom, which has licensed networks including MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central to Layer3. “Going after the high-end customer is not the easiest, but I think they have a shot with their technology,” she said.
- read this Wall Street Journal story