In Tech: Lifetime video service, Sprint's new price plans

In Tech: Lifetime video service, Sprint's new price plans

Fans of Lifetime's melodramatic movies can now see them for $4 a month — without subscribing to cable.

Lifetime's online video service is the latest move by an entertainment company to bypass the traditional cable bundle, which easily tops $70 a month. For example, HBO has made its shows & movies available online for $15 a month to people who don't pay for cable, while Showtime has an $11-a-month service debuting this month. CBS & Nickelodeon moreover have Internet offerings that don't require a cable subscription.

Subscribers to Lifetime's service won't obtain the regular cable channel, which has ads & is available on many cable & satellite lineups. Rather, the Lifetime Movie Club service will let viewers watch a rotating pool of movies, approximately 30 at a time, from Lifetime's library of more than 300 films. They will be shown without commercials. The channel's reality shows & scripted TV series won't be available.

p>Lifetime has long been known for its movies approximately stalkers, affairs gone offensive & thrillers based on juicy headlines. It has been trying to appeal to younger audiences with such movies as "Aaliyah: The Princess of R&B." It moreover has reality shows like "Little Women: LA" & the dance show "Bring It."

"Lifetime movies unquestionably have a long history yet they've changed over the years. Some of our biggest events on Lifetime are the movies," said Dan Suratt, executive vice president for digital at A+E Networks, which owns Lifetime as well as the History channel & A+E.

While other online video services such as Dish Network's Sling TV are aimed at people who don't subscribe to cable, Suratt said he expects the movie app to be "entirely complementary" to Lifetime's TV channel.

Like many channels, Lifetime's primetime viewership has declined this year, according to Nielsen.

The new Lifetime Movie Club service will work on iPhones & iPads, with other devices coming this fall.

— Tali Arbel, AP Technology Writer

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Sprint is introducing an "all-in" pricing plan, meaning a single, $80-a-month price that includes both a smartphone & a service plan for voice, text & unlimited data.

The new plan, though billed as simpler, won't have many benefits for consumers. Prices for a Samsung Galaxy S6 & HTC One M9 won't change, as it had been $20 for the phone & $60 for the service plan. An iPhone 6 plan will cost $10 a month more as Sprint gets rid of a promotion. These three phones are the only ones eligible, as they are among the most popular.

With the new pricing, Sprint is going back to how all wireless plans used to be sold. Until recently, phone companies routinely offered subsidies on phones in exchange for two-year contracts & made up for that in higher monthly fees. In the name of transparency, T-Mobile lowered the monthly service fees two years ago & started charging for the phone separately. AT&T, Verizon & Sprint followed on some of its plans.

Now, Sprint is returning to the old ways in combining the two charges.

There's one huge difference: Sprint is leasing the phone. Customers have to turn it in when upgrading or pay extra to keep it. With subsidies, customers own the phones outright & have no obligations beyond the two-year contract. That means a customer can resell the phone when upgrading or cancelling service.

In a statement, T-Mobile described the move as a "pushback against a trend that wireless users have overwhelmingly supported." T-Mobile says separating the charges gives consumers more information to make better choices.

Sprint will still sell phones outright, though at higher monthly prices. Those options aren't as prominent on Sprint's website.

Sprint's $80-a-month price doesn't include taxes & surcharges, including a one-time $36 activation fee.

— Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer

Source: “Associated Press”