TORONTO - Rogers (TSX:RCI.B) says it may sell digital streaming of Toronto Blue Jays games and its Sportsnet channels to non-TV subscribers.
It's encouraging news for so-called cord cutters, a small segment of consumers who have cancelled their TV subscriptions in favour of streaming digital content, or using an antenna to pick up over-the-air signals.
While most prime-time shows can be viewed on network websites online, typically a day or two after they air on TV, sports content is not as easy to stream legally.
Currently, streaming of Jays games is only offered to Rogers TV subscribers, although talks are underway to give access to customers with other TV providers, said David Purdy, senior vice-president of content.
Selling content to cord cutters is another idea being considered, Purdy said in an interview.
"There's definitely thinking going on about what kind of model would make sense — to university students (for example) who perhaps don't have a cable, satellite or IPTV subscription — how do you create a product that's relevant for them?" said Purdy.
"Would it be just the Jays? Probably not. Would Sportsnet be available in a unique distribution model? That's something we're actively thinking about.
"You've got to be customer-centric and innovate and recognize there's a certain number of people out there that today don't subscribe to (a TV package). But you don't want to shoot yourself in the foot with pricing that's not smart."
Rogers already sells digital access to its Sportsnet World programming, including international soccer, rugby and cricket. A full access subscription is about $275 a year, or $25 a month. Buying a year of rugby games is $129, it's $199 for cricket, and soccer options range from $99 for just UEFA Europe League matches to about $253 for all soccer games.
Curling fans can also pay $25 to stream one of the Grand Slam of Curling tournaments or $80 for the whole package.