MyBundle.TV has scored a new deal, inking a strategic partnership with the NRTC, as the company advances its ambitions of becoming the go-to-partner for broadband providers that want to offer simplified aggregated streaming options to customers.
The new agreement means the 1,500 members of NRTC – the National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative – can take advantage of MyBundle.TV, which provides aggregation tools and products to help make it easier for providers to offer (and consumers to find) the streaming services they want in one place.
Jason Cohen, co-founder and CEO of MyBundle.TV, said in a statement that the NRTC partnership is a “natural fit.”
“By giving their members convenience, control and choice through our powerful, yet simple tools, NRTC’s members can increase broadband penetration and offer their subscribers a helping hand without spending the time, capital and effort themselves,” Cohen continued. “While we pride ourselves on a simple, streamlined partner onboarding process - it will now be even easier for any NRTC member to sign up for our services to start helping their subscribers right away.”
NRTC members serve more than 3 million access lines nationwide and the co-op counts telephone companies, electric utilities, and smaller rural broadband providers among its participants.
In an interview with Fierce, Cohen said that some NRTC members already offer video services but the large majority don’t. Some are going the broadband-only route, and with large amounts of government funding going to help deploy broadband in rural areas, having an easy-to-implement option for TV services can help those providers acquire broadband subs.
NRTC members include some just getting into the broadband business, he noted, such as telephone companies who are upgrading copper phone lines into fiber, as well as electric utilities starting from scratch with fiber networks to serve communities, thanks to an influx of government funding. Cohen emphasized that MyBundle.TV works across a range of models: those that have never had video, those looking to get out of the traditional video business, or providers that offer video services and want to stay in the business.
“The fact that our suite of tools focuses on those different customers, whether you have a traditional video package, or you’re a cord-cutter or cord-never, makes for a good partnership,” Cohen told Fierce.
It’s too soon to say what adoption by NRTC members might looks like, but smaller broadband players are MyBundle’s main target.
As a streaming aggregator, MyBundle has been seeing traction. It incorporates more than 150 streaming services and is now partnering with approximately 105 broadband providers serving 9.1 million customers. Earlier this summer it snagged a deal with Dish’s Sling TV, which became the first streamer to integrate billing for vMVPD within the MyBundle.TV platform. Frontier Communications in June started offering MyBundle to customers.
As for targeting smaller and rural providers, MyBundle has had discussions with NCTC (recently rebranded to the National Content & Technology Cooperative), CEO Lou Borrelli acknowledged in a recent interview with Fierce, saying the organization started talking close to the company’s inception and that a number of NCTC members already do some business independently with MyBundle.
“I like what they’re doing, I think they’re on a path that I’m comfortable with,” Borrelli noted, without disclosing further details. “I think we can do a lot of business together.” He added that there are a number of companies that are doing a good job filling a void “and it’s working.”
Cohen acknowledged talks with NCTC, an organization that serves more than 700 independent communication provider members.
He said the recent name change is indicative of the widening-scope of how the organization is looking to help its members.
“I think [NCTC’S] name change…really speaks to how they’re thinking about the industry and how they’re looking to bring technology solutions to their member companies,” he said. “We’re hopeful to have that opportunity to be working with them down the road as well,” as Cohen sees a lot of mutual opportunity.
Need for a central aggregator
The NRTC deal also comes as recent survey data from Hub Entertainment Research shows consumers are very keen on bundling and aggregating streaming services.
According to the Hub survey, a huge 91% of respondents thinking having access to multiple services through a single device improves the viewing experience, with 52% saying aggregation makes the experience “a lot” better.
As a number NRTC members offer broadband only, most aren’t starting with their own video package and could turn to MyBundle as a solution in an increasingly crowded streaming world.
“Because there are so many streaming services, and frankly so many ways to buy streaming services, it’s a completely different ecosystem than it was the last 30 years,” Cohen noted. “So we certainly believe it doesn’t make sense for each provider to try and go build direct relationships with every streaming service.”
On the flip side, it gives streaming services a place to find distributors – with MyBundle not only aggregating streaming services for broadband providers and their customers – but essentially aggregating broadband providers and consumers for streaming services.
“There’s a true need for a central aggregator,” Cohen added, noting MyBundle isn’t exclusive – so it represents yet another way streaming services can reach subscribers and for consumers to easily find streaming services and bundle them. Meanwhile, broadband providers could also offer credits, bundles or streaming rewards. “It’s really exciting because that is where this is all heading, but it really does take a partner, this is not a go-it-alone thing.”
MyBundle is also in conversations with streaming services for onboarding, according to Cohen. Services only need to integrate once and then have access to its roster of broadband partners, which in turn makes MyBundle more valuable to broadband partners.
In a recent column on Fierce Video, TVREV analyst Alan Wolk highlighted the growing preference among Americans for bundles and called out MyBundle.TV and Paket Media as “well positioned to take advantage of this strong consumer preference.”
“If you’re looking for an independent partner to help you stand up a streaming bundle, check out companies like the aforementioned MyBundle.TV and Paket Media,” wrote Wolk. “They are doing the right things to help make having multiple streaming subscriptions easier and more palatable for consumers.”