Verizon turns the other cheek, offers 1-year of Netflix free with $60 Internet/TV package

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Verizon is upping its game in an effort to gain customers, with plans to offer a new FIOS TV plan that would include, among other incentives, a free year’s worth of Netflix access.

The new package for FIOS, Verizon’s fiber-optic TV and Internet service, will offer broadband speeds of up to 50 Mbps, access to local TV channels, plus HBO and Showtime (which also means HBO Go, and Showtime Anytime), and 12-months of Netflix access. The price? $60. Consider that a subscription to Netflix would cost $9/month on its own, with similar, if not higher pricing for the stand alone app versions of HBO and Showtime, both of which are slated to arrive sometime next year.

The offer launched last week, and is available anywhere you can get FIOS.

Oppenheimer analyst Tim Horan called the package “extremely competitive,” reports Investor’s Business Daily. And, in a clear case of stating the obvious, he adds that the offering appears to be “designed to recapture cord cutters.”

If you aren’t familiar with the term, “cord cutters” refers to those folks who have had enough of traditional cable and satellite TV, and have opted for alternative, over-the-top (OTT) offerings, like Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and a multitude of others that leverage the World Wide Web. The draw is simplicity, the ability to view on your own schedule, and cost – there’s no need to sign on to a big package with hundreds of channels just to get the few you want. The drawback? You typically gain access to library content, not current episodes of your favorite shows.

Cord cutter culture is clearly on the rise, especially among the younger generation. Verizon added 21,000 fewer FIOS pay TV subscribers in the third quarter of this year than in Q3 2013. Naturally, the hope is that this jam-packed package will entice customers to return. It offers the best of both worlds – access to the current series of popular shows on networks like HBO and Showtime (catch your weekly fix of Game of Thrones, anyone?), plus full library content of past seasons via Netflix.

Of course, for those who’ve followed the very public feud between Netflix and Verizon, which has included allegations from Netflix that Verizon was throttling its service, a cease and desist order from Verizon for defamation, a much bemoaned deal in which Netflix agreed to pay Verizon for faster connection speeds, and a myriad of other nuggets of he said/she said vitriol, there’s something rather amusing about the two teaming up in a bundled package. But hey, good business heals all wounds, right?

Competitors like Comcast, Cox, and AT&T, have all offered similar promotions that include a monthly service plan plus an OTT (over the top) service, like Amazon Prime in the case of AT&T, ranging from $40-$50/mo. Add in the forthcoming premium channel app of choice, and you’ve got a fairly enticing a la carte streaming meal. But will it work?

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