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In the media: Verizon down with OTT

Wed, 12/07/2011 - 2:12pm
Mike Robuck

Verizon Communications is working on an over-the-top service that would stream movies and TV shows to customers outside of its FiOS video service footprint.

While all is cozy between Bright House Networks, Time Warner Cable, Comcast and Verizon Wireless with last week's $3.6 billion spectrum deal and agreement to resell each other's services, Verizon's OTT service is a shot across the bow of cable operators and the likes of Netflix. Citing unnamed sources, Reuters reported on Verizon's OTT plans and said that the new service could be rolled out next year.

According to Reuters, Verizon Communications is working with programming partners on offering the OTT service outside of markets where it has broadband and TV services, which would make it available to roughly 85 million households across the nation.

To date, cable operators, such as Comcast, have resisted the siren call of providing OTT services outside of their respective footprints.

Verizon's OTT package would be limited in scope and could include packages of movies similar to Liberty Media's Starz Play and Viacom's Epix, or it could involve children's programming from a partner such as Walt Disney Co. or Viacom, according to Reuters.

While limited in scope content-wise, Verizon's OTT service could be disruptive to both traditional video providers and streaming services from the likes of Netflix, Hulu, Apple, Google and Amazon.

Verizon Communications' desire to be a player in the OTT field included kicking the tires on Hulu. According to CNET, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said at an investor conference that his company considered buying Hulu when the latter was on the market earlier this year.

McAdam described OTT services as complementary to the company's FiOS TV service but declined to comment on Verizon's own OTT offering.

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