Back in January Verizon started to attract some attention when they purchased an Intel Corp venture with the purpose of creating a web-based TV service. This move led observers to believe that Verizon may actually be able to offer a real and viable alternative to the status quo of the cable TV industry. However, we have heard little more on this topic from Verizon since January. Part of the silence was apparently due to the cable companies less keen on venturing away from traditional cable packages. More recently with similar intentions from Sony, Dish, and DirecTV to create web-based TV services it seems the tide is slowly turning in favor of Verizon. This was further confirmed today by Verizon’s CEO Lowell McAdam at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference.
McAdam firstly acknowledged the difficulty of trying to establish a rapport with the media companies who favor packaged TV, but did indicate the big companies were slowly warming to the idea “over the last six months to a year, that dialog is changing dramatically”. Further adding “It’s moved from a stiff-arm to more of an embrace”. With this changing of the times McAdam also took this opportunity to further lay-out their plan for web-based content by stating he expects Verizon to roll out their new TV service by the middle of 2015. No firm date was given by McAdam although he did seem confident by the middle of next year consumers can expect to receive the service. In terms of what users will actually get, McAdam clearly believes the future is in la carte TV services claiming “nobody wants to have 300 channels on their wireless device”. Instead, McAdam hinted users can expect a “bundle with major broadcast providers” in addition to what he referred to as a collection of “custom channels”. These ‘custom channels’ are presumed to be channels which cater towards a younger audience and in particular the so-called ‘millennials’ (generally understood to be consumers who come-of-age around the millennium).
So it does seem Verizon are keen to get this particular service up-and-running as soon as possible and presumably before the likes of Sony or Dish get there first. However, with the recent arguments between Verizon and Netflix over who was slowing down Netflix playback, Verizon will want to make sure similar issues do not hit their service once it gets going. Deciding content and offering relative channels at a competitive price will always be well-received by consumers but not if they end up struggling to stream content.