Verizon and ESPN move closer to settling skinny bundling lawsuit

Lawyers for ESPN and Verizon (NYSE: VZ) have told a New York judge that they've made "progress" towards resolving a lawsuit filed last year by the programmer over the Verizon's FiOS skinny bundling strategy. 

The two sides, according to briefs acquired by the Hollywood Reporter, would like to pause the proceedings. The two sides are due in court later this week.

The legal proceedings follow an announcement made last week by Verizon that it was making significant tweaks to its Custom TV package. ESPN sued Verizon in April of last year, shortly after the operator introduced a new budgeted-minded programming bundle that relegated ESPN and ESPN 2 to an "add-on" sports tier. 

Under Verizon's new plan, customers can now choose among the following two bundles: "Custom TV - Essentials" includes the broadcast networks and 78 cable channels, including Bravo, Fox News, History and Discovery Channel.

"Custom TV - Sports & More" will feature the broadcast networks and 59 cable channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2, Fox Sports 1 and NBC Sports Network, along with all the available regional sports networks in customers' specific markets.

Verizon is pricing these bundles at $70 a month for a triple-play that also includes FiOS Internet and phone service. Genre-based add-on packs can be purchased at $6 a month each.

Verizon insists the revamp was driven by customer feedback, not pressure from program partners, and said Custom TV is now its most popular video product among new customers.

For more:
- read this Hollywood Reporter story

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