Viacom CEO says its ‘less than $20’ Skinny bundle could launch later this year

  • Viacom could release a sub-$20 content package as early as this year
  • The "Skinny bundle" would focus on non-broadcast and non-sports content

Viacom could unveil its entry point "Skinny bundle" media content package as early as this year, its CEO told CNBC on Thursday.

"That's something we are working particularly in U.S. and I believe there'll be a product like that in the marketplace this calendar year," revealed Bob Bakish, president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the world's sixth largest broadcasting and cable company, speaking at the Viva Tech conference in Paris.

The product would attempt to set a new and significantly lower price point compared to traditional packages which are priced around $100 and lighter packages priced around $40 that have sprung to market in the wake of recent developments in over-the-top (OTT) products which use only the internet for media transmission.

Viacom would be able to do this by avoiding inclusion of expensive material such as broadcast or sports and therefore keeping product costs in check, according to the company's president.

Viacom headquarters
Chris Hondros | Getty Images
Viacom headquarters

"With a 30 percent margin you can price it in the low-teens to up to $20 depending on how much product. Our sense is you want to be at the lower end of that price point to really have something to appeal to cord-nevers and again create a catalyst at that entry point in the market," Bakish said, referring to the younger generation of consumers who have never subscribed to traditional television services.

"Ultimately the question will be 'how does the market segment?'", he asked rhetorically, opining that the $40 price point is too high to entice people into the market yet not sufficiently low to encourage true sports fans to sacrifice the additional content available in a more expensive price bracket.

Currently, no real comparable product is available, according to Bakish, yet indications are that it could gain appeal.

"You could say a product like Netflix which is priced around $10 and has tens of millions of subs(cribers) in the U.S. alone indicates there should be interesting demand at that level of the market," he highlighted.

Viacom is well-placed to offer this service, says Bakish, given that it has a market-leading presence across a variety of non-broadcast and non-sports categories with channels such as Nickelodeon, Nick Junior, Comedy Central, MTV, BET and Paramount.

"You take that bundle, that's a nice core, you add a few more things and we think it's a very interesting proposition."