Could Cable TV Go Down the ‘Fortnite’ Path of Micro-Transactions One Day?





Comcast Cable Truck

There may be a time when you’ll be able to pay a few bucks for a day pass to access an exclusive program or live event from your pay-TV service, like cable TV similar to Fortnite-style micro-transactions.

That’s according to Liz Riemersma, vice president of strategy, business development and international for Sling TV, who was talking about where the video industry could go. To be clear, neither Sling TV or DISH Network are pursuing this now. But she said it’s where the video industry could be headed down the line, especially if you look at how comfortable younger viewers are with those kinds of one-off payments.

“You have to look at consumer behavior and see the differences between the way you or I might think about subscribing to something and a way a 13-year-old would and say, what’s the difference between this and this? And how do we recognize or look at the fact that the behavior in five years might look more like that? That’s what really drives us,” Riemersma said in an interview with Cord Cutters News on the sidelines of Parks Associates’ Future of Video conference.

While there have long been pay-per-view options for big events like UFC fights, Riemersma is talking about even smaller transactions.

“You don’t think about $1 or $2,” she said. “You think about $10, $15, $20, $40, $50, that’s when you start to really say, ‘ do I really want to pay for this?’

“But the reality is, you could actually make a pretty decent business of selling day passes to programming,” Riemersma said.

Even Fortnite skins and items aren’t that cheap, with prices as low as a few dollars to $15 to $20 or more for DLC. The appeal of some of these purchases is the limit timing and window for some of these items, something that could be emulated with programming. It’s also led to significant gains for Epic Games, the maker of Fortnite. At its peak in 2018, the game generated $5.4 billion in revenue, according to Statista.

Riemersma made it clear this isn’t something she’s working on now. “That would probably violate almost all of our contracts,” she quipped.

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