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Verizon has a new, formidable partner: Netflix.
Starting Tuesday, Verizon began bundling a free one-year Netflix subscription into its Fios Triple Play package (which includes internet, television, and phone service).
Verizon Fios customers who subscribe to the company’s Multi-Room DVR Enhanced or Premium service will also be able to stream their favorite Netflix series directly to their TV. Just navigate to channel 838 to launch the service.
Verizon isn’t the only company to offer such a bundle. T-Mobile already offers free subscriptions (unlimited, as opposed to Verizon’s one-year deal) to the streaming service to users with more than two lines on a voice plan. AT&T offers free HBO, and Sprint offers free access to Tidal’s streaming platform HiFi.
However, Verizon is the first company to bundle a Netflix subscription into cable TV.
We expect that these bundles will only become more common as net neutrality fades into the past. With ISPs no longer allowed to play favorites, it’s possible that streaming services like Netflix could cost even more to access, or that some providers could block it entirely. A free subscription to the streaming service could tip some people from one provider, or plan, to another.
And while cable companies don’t always compete with each other (many people don’t get to choose their provider), they do compete with streaming services. In 2016, almost 2% of cable TV customers cancelled their subscriptions (a large increase from the previous year), and the dominance of streaming services was cited as the primary cause.
Verizon’s move perfectly embodies the phrase “If you can’t beat them, join them.” By footing the cost of the most popular streaming services, Verizon could make its cable package all the more appealing to millennials who would otherwise stick with an internet-only package.
Is the deal worth it? If you’re currently a wifi-only customer, probably not. Fios’ Triple Play package is $79.99 per month, while the wifi alone is $39.99 per month. Netflix’s standard plan is $10.99 per month. So if you don’t need television or a landline, it’s not worth shelling out for the Triple Play package just for free Netflix.
But if you were already paying for Triple Play, you’ll get a nice treat. And maybe, as more TV subscribers cut the cord every year, you’ll keep yours intact.