Genre-Based TV Channel Bundle Teased by Charter Communications CFO

Illustration by: Paweł Jońca

Christopher Winfrey said that such packaging is especially necessary since programmers have been "devaluing" their content by selling it to digital services like Netflix while simultaneously demanding more money from its tradition cable clients.

It appears that Charter Communications wants to offer its customers TV channels grouped by genre, though CFO Christopher Winfrey on Monday wouldn't supply details of the cable provider's plans, if any.

"It sounds relatively straight forward, but it's difficult to achieve — to allow the cable operator and satellite operator to actually bundle the packages into genres so that you could sell more product, sell more programming to consumers in a way that actually makes sense, whether it's family packages, sports packages or broadcast tiers," Winfrey said.

Winfrey said that such packaging is especially necessary since programmers have been "devaluing" their content by selling it to digital services like Netflix while simultaneously demanding more money from its tradition cable clients. He said the situation is at a "tipping point" because it is "nearly impossible" to pass along the rising programming costs to Charter's customers.

The Charter CFO said genre-based packaging has had success in some parts of Europe and, when done right, it is a more "sticky" offering that leads to "pricing power."

"The distributors in Europe had a lot more leeway in terms of putting genre-based packaging in place, and it's been very successful as a way for the distributor to sell and the programmers to get paid," he said.

"More to come," the CFO said, without offering specifics as to what Charter may have in store.

A Charter spokeswoman declined to comment on Winfrey's remarks, which he made at the Deutsche Bank 2015 Media, Internet & Telecom Conference in Palm Beach, Florida.

Email: Paul.Bond@THR.com

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