Cable operator WOW! appears to have pulled its new WOW! tv+ product from its website and is now only highlighting video services from third-party virtual MVPDs.
The company announced WOW! tv+ in March and began testing out the Android TV-based service in Columbus, Ohio. In May, it added Cleveland and mid-Michigan to the list of markets with WOW! tv+. However, all three of the WOW! website landing pages for those markets now feature no mention of the product and only direct customers to a “Streaming TV” tab where the choices include YouTube TV, fuboTV, Sling TV and Philo.
WOW! did not immediately respond to a request for confirmation and it’s unclear if the website update means that WOW! tv+ is not currently available.
In February, WOW! began a trial in Charleston, South Carolina to offer its broadband customers there a choice between Sling TV, fuboTV, YouTube TV and Philo. Now it appears those options are available in all the operator’s 19 markets which include cities in Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, Alabama, Tennessee, South Carolina, Florida and Georgia.
WOW! is among other service providers including Google Fiber and Cable One that have been de-emphasizing video services in favor of focusing on higher-margin broadband products.
Scott Barton, senior vice president of product for WOW!, said his company’s motivation for launching WOW! tv+ – along with the company’s partnerships with third-party streaming services – is providing customer choice and reacting to the changing ways in which consumers watch video. He also said that QAM bandwidth reclamation is beneficial for WOW! from a long-term strategic perspective.
“There’s value, not just from a consumer perspective, but also for us as we position ourselves as a broadband company going forward,” Barton said.
WOW! also expects to reach higher margins by eliminating some programming expenses and avoiding annual cost increases from content providers. As more WOW! customers shift from traditional linear TV to streaming alternatives, the company expects it will reduce operational costs through fewer calls to its customer service representatives and fewer truck rolls for in-home service repairs.
“Further, we expect to become more capital efficient as a result of shorter time for installation and the elimination of legacy video customer premises equipment,” WOW CEO Teresa Elder said during the company’s fourth quarter earnings call. “We have an advanced network that we’re able to leverage and we welcome the de-emphasis of linear video across the industry and how that will benefit WOW! as well as our customers.” She added that 66% of WOW!’s new subscribers are now opting for broadband service without bundling in traditional video.