It may seem weird now, but offering a pay TV package was once seen as a prime benefit for an apartment complex. Until recently, the biggest wave of apartment buildings was put up in the 1980s, when laws gave builders big tax breaks for building housing that was affordable for people just starting out. Apartments sprung up all over the country. They competed fiercely with each other trying to offer the right benefits. The goal was something that wasn’t expensive but gave potential renters a moment to think.
Yes, these were the days of printed apartment guides with big glossy advertising. If you were there in those days, you may remember the phrases. They promised “sparkling pools” and “convenient laundry facilities.” You might also remember “modern floorplans” and “kitchens with microwave nooks.” Yes, my friends, it was the 1980s when microwave ovens were high tech.
Probably the biggest headline was reserved for “cable TV.” Satellite wouldn’t be invented until 1994, of course. Even then it faced an uphill battle from landlords.
The first wave of TV for renters came from on-property headends. Landlords put up a big antenna and leased signals from the local cable company. They then provided 10-20 channels of live TV to tenants as part of the rent. Don’t scoff… in those days 20 channels seemed like a lot. Those days were short-lived though because people wanted more choice.
The 90s and 2000s: Cable or Satellite
Eventually, these apartment complexes were wired so that people could choose their own option for TV. Smart landlords provided satellite solutions that allowed for one dish on the roof so people could choose DIRECTV, the unquestioned leader in entertainment. Others simply let the cable company in to prewire, which gave renters access to something, although it wasn’t really what they wanted. Many put dishes on their patios and drilled holes in walls even though the landlord said ‘no.’
And then came the internet
Of course in the 2010s everyone wanted fast internet. It took a while for apartment complexes to get with the program, especially those 1980s-built ones that were getting fairly old by now. However, a new wave of apartment complexes rose up, driven by demand from millennials who never saw themselves as homeowners. Millennials, as we all know, place a high value on fast internet and apartments had to evolve or see rents drop.
And now, it’s come full circle
I’ve started getting a lot more requests lately for some sort of “bulk streaming service.” If you don’t know the term, it comes off like a 21st century version of the old headend systems. Landlords want to offer a basic TV package to tenants over their pre-wired internet. It’s an attempt to get a little more profit for the landlord and it also gives tenants an extra benefit.
The problem is, such a service doesn’t exist. All of the major live TV streaming services like DIRECTV NOW and Sling would prefer to sell direct to consumers. None of them have any sort of program for commercial sales at all. There’s no plan in place to offer this as part of a landlord-tenant relationship and I don’t see that changing.
If I had to guess why, I’d say that these companies are seeing their services grow without needing to provide bulk discounts. After all, if a landlord wanted to offer DIRECTV NOW to 150 tenants, they’d probably want to get a good deal from AT&T. This would shrink already-thin profit margins, so it’s not a great idea.
Don’t wait for your landlord
If you want to sign up for the best live TV service, give a call now to Solid Signal! We can help you figure out all your alternatives from the very confusing world of cable, satellite, and streaming. We can even get you signed up for the most popular services on the spot! Call any time during East Coast business hours… the number is 877.312.4547.