Deeper Dive—Ting is building a TV service that honors the cord-cutting reality

Ting Internet is working on Ting TV and this week the company hired Verizon’s former head of design to help make it a reality.

Neil Shah, Ting’s new vice president of product, said his background and experience lies at the intersection of tech and entertainment. He worked in Verizon’s Consumer Markets business unit, which is home to Fios Internet and TV, and he helped scale Venmo before the company was acquired as part of PayPal’s $800 million deal for Braintree.

Now at Ting, Shah is tasked with fully forming the company’s product vision and strategy for Internet and TV. The company said his team will be making “innovative TV products that honor the new cord-cutting reality.”

Shah has been watching the changes that have been happening in the pay TV space over the past few years, as a proliferation of streaming entertainment alternatives have led to more consumers quitting traditional linear TV and putting together their own bundles and using their own devices.

“That’s the reality we’re looking at. There’s a huge segment of customers that don’t want that and don’t need that. They want something else looks different, that feels different,” said Shah. “But then you also have people who came up through the evolution of TV. It’s something that’s baked into how they like to experience TV. We have to look at all of those different things.”

Ting TV was originally announced in December 2018 as an IPTV service paired with Ting’s gigabit internet service available in parts California, Colorado, Idaho North Carolina, Maryland and Virginia. The service promises clear pricing without added on fees for broadcast and sports rights, HD channels, DVR and the option to run the service on third-party devices instead of a rented set-top box.

The company currently has some pilot programs in place for Ting TV but an official launch date has yet to be set.

When Ting TV does arrive, it will fill some gaps in the company’s service portfolio. Shah said there are some Ting fiber internet customers who are fine without traditional TV but some have said that they would like TV. He also said there are potential internet customers who won’t order Ting Internet unless there’s a compelling TV product to go along with it.

As more Americans cancel or downgrade their traditional TV service each quarter, some ISPs have handed over TV duties to third-party services. Google Fiber recently discontinued its traditional TV service and instead began pointed its customers toward fuboTV and YouTube TV as options. Some smaller cable operators have ditched TV all together and even Verizon has put forth YouTube TV as one of the best options for its broadband subscribers.

Shah declined to say if Ting would go down that road but did say the company is looking at every possible option.

For now, though, Ting is focused on creating a TV product that makes sense for its customers.