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@ The Cable Show: Verizon debuts video portal; Comcast a partner

Tue, 05/22/2012 - 12:47pm
Mike Robuck

Verizon Wireless' Dan Mead and Comcast's Neil SmitVerizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead used the Tuesday morning general session to announce his company’s new mobile video portal app, which is called “viewdini,” and he said that Comcast is the first announced cable operator partner.

Viewdini searches and collects content from various sources and puts it at the fingertips of viewers – for free – over Verizon Wireless’ LTE network. Announced partners, aside from Comcast, include Hulu Plus, mSpot and Netflix, with more coming on board before viewdini launches in a few weeks. It appears as though the app will also work with TV sites and movie studios once the content rights issues have been resolved.

“We waited until today because we thought this was the right atmosphere and right audience to announce viewdini,” Mead said. “It’s a mobile video portal for aggregation and delivery of mobile content. So there’s a very unique thing going on right now, and that’s the desire of consumers to be able to absorb video on any device that they may have, anytime that they want, and that aligned with Verizon Wireless’ high-speed LTE network. With what has occurred in the tablet and smartphone industry, this all came together. We’ve been working on this for a couple of years.”

In addition to searching and collecting the content, Mead said viewdini also functions as a research tool by allowing users to find more information on characters in a film or additional movies that they’ve appeared in.

Verizon Wireless' viewdini

“It’s really all about discovery and getting the content to people where they want to consume it,” said Comcast Cable President and CEO Neil Smit, who was also on the panel with Mead. “We have a partnership with Verizon Wireless that has been a terrific partnership for us. We felt that as the content becomes more mobile and people want to consume it in different places, different content whenever or wherever they want to, that Verizon Wireless would be a great partner to help our customers discover the content.”

Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications partnered up with Verizon Wireless in December after agreeing to sell off their wireless spectrum. Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House also entered into a joint technology venture with Verizon Wireless to develop products that complement their various product lines, but Mead said viewdini is a Verizon Wireless product.

While Comcast is the first announced cable operator partner for viewdini, it probably won’t be very long before Cox, Bright House and Time Warner Cable also join in on offering the app to their customers.

Comcast, TWC and Cox have started their joint marketing efforts with Verizon Wireless, and viewdini could serve as an additional incentive to get the cable operator subscribers to sign up for Verizon Wireless’ LTE service.

In addition to letting customers know what content is available from content providers, viewdini also tells them whether it is available at no additional charge, by subscription, to rent or for purchase.

“Consumers are very hungry for this,” Mead said. “We think this is one of our most important announcements of the year, and that’s why we held it for today. We see the hunger consumers have in using their devices in so many different ways. I’m very excited that we have the right tool for that.”

Over the next two to three weeks, viewdini will be available to Verizon Wireless customers with 4G LTE Android devices, with support for other operating systems slated to be added soon. The application can be downloaded from the Google Play store.

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