updated 07:49 am EDT, Mon March 18, 2013
Suggests paying production companies based on viewership
Verizon is looking towards adding more channels to its FiOS television service, but only if it can pay for shows that its customers actually watch. The proposed system would see Verizon paying channel providers based on how much time is spent by FiOS subscribers viewing the content, instead of its current system where it pays a blanket monthly fee based on subscriber numbers.
The report in the Wall Street Journal claims Verizon is already in talks with several "mid-tier and smaller" media companies over the proposals, which would count the number of "unique five-minute views" a channel receives each month, though there is some opposition. The data being used for this monitoring would also come from Verizon's own set-top box data instead of an independent monitoring service, such as Neilsen ratings.
The proposed system, if adopted by other cable and satellite providers, could lead to improvements in television programming based on viewership. Channels with higher viewer numbers would receive more money and could in theory funnel it into programming funds, giving under-performing shows and channels the possibility of being canceled or shut down without improvements.
It is not clear if such a system would filter down to end users in the future, allowing customers to pay just for the channels they watch, such as HBO.