Verizon Only Wants to Pay the Channels You Watch
Cable provider envisions radical shakeup
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 18, 2013 2:35 PM CDT
The headquarters for Verizon Communications Inc. is shown in midtown Manhattan Saturday, April 9, 2005 in New York file photo.   (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, FILE)

(Newser) – Verizon wants to radically change the way the cable business works, with a new system in which it would only pay channels if viewers actually watch them, the company tells the Wall Street Journal. Right now, cable companies pay networks a fee for every subscriber who has access to the channel, whether they actually watch the channel or not. Under the new system, Verizon would offer far more channels, but only pay those channels for each viewer who tuned in for at least five minutes.

Verizon is already talking about the plan with some "mid-tier and smaller" media companies, though so far it has proven to be a "head-scratching thing" for them because "it's such a disruptive model," an executive tells the Journal. What would all this mean for consumers? More channels, but not necessarily lower prices. The executive says that the move would only "stabilize retail prices." And Rebecca Greenfield at the Atlantic Wire predicts that "money-hungry cable companies and content providers" will never go for it.