Wi-Fi provider Boingo goes 'skinny' with new Core IPTV service for military

Wi-Fi vendor Boingo recently launched a new $19.95 per month "skinny" bundle of TV services for its military users that sports a handful of TV channels specifically targeted at millennial men. Boingo said its new Core TV offers in-home streaming video, "which is important for this universe because their primary screen is a mobile device (laptop, tablet, smartphone)," the company said.

Boingo's move from a standard lineup of TV offerings to a cheaper, more targeted lineup follows a similar trend in the wider pay-TV market. Boingo previously offered a standard TV package of around 40 channels for $29.95 per month and an "expanded" package of around 70 channels at $49.95. "Our new Core TV package was developed specifically for the largely millennial core audience," said Katie O'Neill, Boing's director of marketing and communications.

Boingo's Core TV service offers channels including Fox Sports, MLB Network, NFL Network and FX.

The trend toward so-called "skinny bundles" in the wider pay-TV market has affected a number of players, including Cablevision, Dish Network and others -- and it appears to be taking hold. For example, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) CFO Fran Shammo said in July the company's new "Custom TV" skinny bundle product "continues to exceed expectations," with a third of new FiOS video subscribers opting for it.

Thus, it's no surprise that Boingo opted to move in that direction with the Wi-Fi-based TV and Internet service the company provides on around 30 military bases in the United States. The company's military services currently cover roughly 160,000 potential customers, but the company is on track to supply TV and Internet services to more than 60 military bases covering 300,000 potential customers throughout the world by the end of next year.

Boingo provides two tiers of Wi-Fi Internet service on military bases: 5 Mbps for $29.95 per month, and 30 Mbps for $49.95 per month. "Our customers are very big gamers, so speed is a super important part of our product, and the majority of customers take the fastest tier," O'Neill noted.

O'Neill also pointed out that Boingo's Internet and TV service is portable; subscribers need only to log in at a new base to pick up their services. She added that the service is mostly wireless: "Most of the buildings we serve on the bases are connected via point-to-point radios, and that enables us to build out bases quickly, without having to trench fiber," she said.

However, O'Neill said that Boingo's IPTV service is only available on the company's military bases and not on its wider public Wi-Fi network, which is available across around 1 million hotspots in airports and other public venues. Boingo generated around $4.2 million in revenue from its military business in its most recent quarter.

But analysts at Evercore ISI predicted the new launch of Boingo's Core TV could represent a beachhead to a wider strategy. "This 'Core TV' product could be a precursor to broader roll-outs in time," the analysts wrote in a recent investor note.

For more:
- see this Boingo page

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