More and more users are cutting the cord these days, and moving to options like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. This has made many traditional TV service providers to think about cable TV alternatives and the recent name in the line is CenturyLink. Reports say that CenturyLink TV is in the middle of testing their OTT streaming service in four of their markets.
The CEO of CenturyLink, Glen Post said that they would consider providing a streaming TV service, like the DirecTV Now service of AT&T. This service will be offered in addition to the in-house TV service of the company. Post explained in a call with analysts that their progress on TV offering will make channels widely available to viewers who live in locations with copper lines that are not capable enough to handle the traditional TV signals.
Third party services like DirecTV Now can help CenturyLink to have a control on the cost of carrying the popular channels. CenturyLink Chief Financial Officer, Stewart Ewing said that they might be interested in reselling the DirecTV Now service, instead of offering their own streaming service.
“Content costs have really gone out of sight in recent years,” Ewing said. “We are looking at every option. If we can get a better deal where we can get some of our content costs down with a DirecTV, we will certainly take a look at that. We are talking to all the service providers, looking at every possibility there.”
Experts believe that the streaming service is meant to act as a replacement for the Prism IPTV service from CenturyLink. CenturyLink said that they are planning to de-emphasize the Prism IPTV service.
The OTT offering from CenturyLink is expected to offer a slimmed down set of channels, but might not include local channels. CEO Post said that the network DVR functionality, which is currently being offered by PlayStation Vue, is planned for their streaming service also.
“Our trials are getting really strong reviews right now,” Post said in the company earnings call. Although he did not say anything about testing the service in more markets before the official roll put, he said that they are planning to offer the OTT service by the second quarter of 2017.
Either options of CenturyLink will pose issues to the existing streaming TV services like PlayStation Vue and Sling TV. However, CenturyLink does not plan to dominate the market. Post said that they do not view streaming TV service as a “significant revenue opportunity” in 2017.