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Verizon Eyeing Online TV Service Decision in Six Months

13 Sep, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam

Telecom operator Verizon aims to announce plans regarding an online TV service within six months, CEO Lowell McAdam told a media group.

Speaking Sept. 13 at Bloomberg’s media confab in New York, McAdam said the burgeoning online TV market has become a “crowded field,” alluding to services such as Dish Network’s pioneering Sling TV, Google’s YouTube TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, Charter’s Spectrum TV Plus and Hulu Live TV.

Regardless, the CEO contends online TV is “absolutely critical for us” due in part to Verizon’s ownership of Yahoo and AOL — now part of a digital media subsidiary collectively known as “Oath.”

“More and more of Internet is video … and we’re evolving that as we evolve our content deal[s],” McAdam said. “Whether we use [OTT] as a platform to deliver content or we offer it as a separate standalone product, we really haven’t made that decision yet.”

The executive said Verizon has the TV network (Fios TV) and content deals (NBA, NFL, MLS, etc.) in place, and any OTT video venture could involve both internal (AOL and Yahoo) and third-party partnerships.

“We’ll firm that up in the next six months or so,” McAdam said.

Verizon’s digital media incursions to date remain underwhelming. In 2013, the telecom partnered with Redbox launching “Redbox Instant,” an OTT video service intended to compete with Netflix that was shuttered a year later. 

In 2015, Verizon bowed go90, an oddly-branded app marketed to mobile users streaming ad-supported content — including reality-based competition series “The Runner” from executive producers Ben Affleck and Matt Damon.

Last year at an investor event, McAdam admitted go90 was experiencing growing pains, in part brought on hyped expectations.

“I'm sure we contributed to that to a certain extent,” he told the J.P. Morgan Global Technology, Media and Telecom Confab in New York.

About the Author: Erik Gruenwedel

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