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Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

NEW YORK -- Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) FiOS TV subscribers will be able to access video on demand (VoD) on the iPad, iPhone, and a range of Android smartphones starting in the fourth quarter, with the addition of live TV channels set to arrive sometime in 2011.

Verizon detailed its TV Everywhere strategy during a briefing here at the apartment of its chief information officer, Shaygan Kheradpir, unveiling a new interactive program guide for FiOS TV and a cloud-based strategy for allowing subscribers to access VoD content on TV, PCs, and mobile devices. But it was Verizon’s iPad app, which would allow subscribers to view live TV channels on Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)'s new tablet computer, that drew the most attention.

Kheradpir and other executives demonstrated that app, which they claimed would allow subscribers to discover TV programming using a grid that displays video thumbnails from the 12 most popular networks in local FiOS TV markets in any given moment based on viewing data. Today's demonstration displayed thumbnails of the most popular networks in FiOS TV's New York region.



FiOS TV vice president of consumer strategy and planning Shawn Strickland said subscriber viewing of live TV channels on the iPad will initially be limited to subscriber homes. [Ed. note: Cablevision Systems Corp. (NYSE: CVC)'s live TV app for the iPad will possess similar in-home viewing restrictions, at least early on.]

He said Verizon would not have to pay programmers additional fees to provide access on the iPad. “That’s no different than a set-top. We don’t pay on a set-top basis,” Strickland said.

But he acknowledged that Verizon doesn’t yet have agreements in place with programmers that would allow it to distribute live TV channels to the iPad and other mobile devices to subscribers who are outside of their homes. An executive from Turner Broadcasting System Inc. attended the Verizon presentation, and content from the company’s CNN was displayed throughout the briefing.

Calling Verizon’s TV Everywhere strategy a “triple play to the triple screen,” Strickland said the applications give FiOS TV competitive edge over rivals such as Comcast Corp. (Nasdaq: CMCSA, CMCSK), Time Warner Cable Inc. (NYSE: TWC), and Cablevision, which are also developing applications for the iPad. (See TWC Preaches Openness With iPad Tilt , To Xfinity... & Beyond!, and Cablevision to Deliver Live TV & VoD to iPad.)

“We see a strong differentiator there. We think we’re fully ahead of the competition,” Strickland said, noting that he believes Verizon’s TV Everywhere strategy will help it win new video customers.

Verizon also unveiled a new IPG, user interface, and Media Manager application for FiOS TV that lets customers buy content with a click of their FiOS TV remote control, and access the videos on up to five mobile devices. The new guide will debut during the fourth quarter, Verizon said.

— Steve Donohue, Special to Light Reading Cable



Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:26:20 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

The video thumbnails based on popularity is a nice touch by VZ, but I still think Dish has the iPad app advantage by going with a SlingLoaded option right out of the gate.  The apps being touted by everyone so far seems to be fairly similar, save for some relatively minor feature additions.  JB

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:26:18 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

Perhaps this is all about time-to-market because the iPad is here now and everyone is building apps for it so they don't get left out of the circus, but does anyone think this move dampens the rumor that VZ and Moto are developing an Android-based tablet?  Or does it add fuel to it because it's plainly obvious that VZ sees a need for a tablet TV strategy, and teaming with Moto on Android would give them more control than they currently have with the Apple apps? JB


 

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:26:17 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

Here's some video Steve took at the event that shows the ipad demo in action:

 

Cooper10 12/5/2012 | 4:26:16 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

Interesting that both Cablevision and FiOS are emphasizing that the mobile video is available only within the home, which clearly ties it back to a programming rights and/or copyright issue (i.e. the RS-DVR ruling in the Cablevision case)


This would seem to further confirm that Sling is operating in a gray area from a legal perspective, and that further legal challenges to Sling are likely at some point.  Whether content is relayed out of the home from the cloud (network DVR) or from the set top (Sling), the end result is the same, and both the Cablevision and FiOS restrictions for "in home" devices indicate that relaying content out of the home requires separate content rights.

Go Gators! 12/5/2012 | 4:26:13 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

Hi Jeff,


 


The link to see your video of the VZ iPad demo is missing!

Jeff Baumgartner 12/5/2012 | 4:26:12 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

Here's the direct URL in case you are still having trouble accessing it from the link i put within that post:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6CY4XRpEvU 

SteveDonohue 12/5/2012 | 4:26:08 PM
re: Verizon Goes iPad Crazy

Dish is definitely first to market with a working product. I thought Verizon's strategy of teasing how it could stream live TV to the iPad before it has deals in place with the programmers to do it is interesting. Maybe that'll help win support from some of the networks, but I think they'll still want to be compensated for allowing viewers to watch programming outside of the home. Now that the big cable MSOs have seen what Verizon is looking to do, I'm curious to see how they'll respond. 

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