Cincinnati Bell, like other telcos, wants a piece of the video business, but understands that it needs to keep pace with the realities of its users’ online viewing habits. That's why it’s exploring how it can deliver an over-the-top video option.
Leigh Fox, COO of Cincinnati Bell, told investors during its third quarter earnings call that it is looking at developing an OTT application in partnership with Roku.
“We are looking at a lot of different options to basically push our services out into the network and those would be kind of next-generation over-the-top services,” Fox said. “We are definitely looking at all the options you can think of, as you can see the landscape changing, we are trying to stay on the forefront of those. Obviously we will be a fast follower, but I think there is a lot of change to come over the next 36 months from everybody, including us.”
Fox did not, however, reveal a specific timeline about when Cincinnati Bell would offer an OTT-based video offering.
Cincinnati Bell is hardly alone in its desire to offer an OTT video offering as fellow telcos CenturyLink and FairPoint are in various stages of developing similar offerings.
FairPoint told investors during its third quarter earnings call that it will trial an OTT video offering in its Ellensburg, Washington, market. Meanwhile, CenturyLink began to trial the OTT service outside of its Prism IPTV footprint in four markets.
Besides offering OTT video, Cincinnati Bell is seeing an uptick in adoption of its MyTV skinny bundle service. The MyTV service, which was launched in March, is luring consumers with a Starter Package TV bundle of more than 50 channels.
“I think what we have learned is, there is definitely a demand for it and a demand from the customers,” Fox said. “We saw, as we mentioned in previous calls, the demand far exceeded our expectations on that bundle.”
Cincinnati Bell said that it saw softer penetration of new video subscribers during the third quarter, adding only 7,000 new customers to end the period with a total of 133,000 subscribers.
The service provider said that video penetration was down slightly due to passing doors at an accelerated rate. Churn improved compared to the prior year, but was seasonally higher than the previous quarters due to the back-to-school move season. Video ARPU totaled $83, up 5 percent compared to the third quarter of 2015.