Wide Open West (WOW!) will exit the pay television industry later this year and transition all current customers over to Google-owned YouTube TV, the company announced on Monday.
The deal marks the transformation of WOW! into a pure-broadband player in the telecommunications space, one that will continue offering residential and business customers access to high-speed Internet while pushing subscribers toward other video products to satiate their TV needs.
As part of the transition, WOW! says it will immediately stop marking its pay television service, called WOW! TV Plus, while directing new customers toward YouTube TV. New and existing customers who sign up for YouTube TV can get a discount when they purchase service through WOW!. Existing pay TV customers will be converted to YouTube TV subscribers over the summer months.
“We are thrilled to begin offering YouTube TV and give our customers access to this best-in-class pay TV service,” Teresa Elder, the CEO of WOW!, said in a statement. “We are very pleased to deliver a seamless TV experience to our customers with this new partnership while continuing to execute on our broadband-first strategy. This furthers our commitment to provide our customers with the highest quality services at the best value.”
The change will impact around 117,000 pay TV customers, according to WOW!’s latest financial earnings report. Like other companies, WOW! has lost pay television subscribers throughout the years as customers drop expensive cable and satellite TV packages for cheaper, online-only offerings.
WOW! said YouTube TV offers a number of benefits over its traditional pay TV service, including access to more than 100 English- and Spanish-language channels, a cloud DVR that stores recordings for at least nine months, the exclusive NFL Sunday Ticket package and no contractual requirements or hidden fees.
Some industry experts have long predicted that traditional pay television companies would shift their focus from TV programming packages toward fiber-based broadband Internet offerings.
“The smaller and medium-sized cable companies – they’re done,” Jason Cohen, the co-founder of streaming TV marketplace MyBundle.TV, told The Desk in 2020. “They are looking to get out of video. The line we keep hearing is, video is 95 percent of my complaints and zero percent of my profits.”