Dolan: OTT No Near-Term Threat

Cablevision CEO James Dolan said he isn’t overly concerned with the recent spate of over-the-top video offerings on the immediate horizon, but said that he sees a day coming when cord-cutting and OTT services become more prevalent.

Dolan said the reason for his initial ease with the services is that they are priced higher than what his company is currently offering its customers. Some reports have said the Sony service, for example, will offer about 100 channels for $80 per month. ONe of Cablevision's lowest tiers offers more than 120 channels for about $65 per month.

“I don’t know that it is necessarily disruptive to us as a multichannel provider,” Dolan said of upcoming OTT offerings. “But we are keeping an eye on it. Ultimately cord cutting and going to over the top is something we do believe is going to happen and we are preparing ourselves for it.”

So far Sony, Verizon Communications and Dish Network have announced plans for an OTT video service. And Home Box Office and CBS also have announced plans to provide a direct-to-consumer service sometime next year.

Cablevision has no plans at the moment for its own OTT service, but Dolan has been a big proponent of offering consumers greater connectivity, whether that be through the hardwire cable network, WiFi services or other wireless means.  Cablevision has one of the most robust WiFi networks in the industry – it claims its customers have access to about 1 million WiFi hotspots in its service territory.  Dolan said the plan to try to further monetize WiFI, which has been used primarily as a retention tool.

Cablevision estimates that more than 50% of its broadband customers use the WiFi network and that a significant majority use WiFi more than 50 times per month.

“We’re looking very closely at the connectivity model, from WiFi to data to over the top ad looking to where that is gong” Dolan said. "One thing we do see is significant uses of data; it’s increasing almost exponentially. We think that is where the growth is going to come from. We think there will be additional uses of the network, including the WiFi network, that will bring us financial growth.”