Verizon is prepping a mobile television service in partnership with the major content providers that it plans to debut in mid-2015, the carrier's CEO revealed on Thursday.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference Thursday morning, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) CEO Lowell McAdam said that the carrier is very focused on launching an Internet, mobile TV product later in the first half of 2015. This is different from LTE Broadcast, which Verizon is also planning to launch next year. (See Verizon Beefing Up Network for VoLTE, Multicast Video.)
The service McAdam is describing is an over-the-top, à la carte TV service enabled by leveraging its recent acquisition of Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC)'s OnCue assets, its investment in Verizon Digital Media Services for dynamic ad insertion and the network capacity it's built up through LTE and small cells. (See Why Did Verizon Buy OnCue? and Verizon Snatches Intel Media Assets.)
"The question is what does that transition look like? We're dedicated to making it look like a win-win for carriers and content providers," McAdam said. "I don't think anyone would say the only way it'll be offered in five years is linear and tied to your TV set. They'll be left behind."
McAdam said the service would include some integration between FiOS and wireless and custom mobile channels, but the hold-up has clearly been working with the content providers. Their mindset has changed in the past decade from "linear-only" to "mobile, but only with authentication off the home service" to recognition of the growth in OTT, he said, Now, the CEO claims discussions are no longer about how to make it work for both content providers and the carrier. The big networks are on board; it's just a matter of execution.
"The whole ecosystem is coming together," he said. "It's been primed for a while, but over the last six to 12 months, the dialogue has changed dramatically."
Mobile TV is just one of several video-focused services Verizon has planned for next year. It is also planning to launch LTE Broadcast, based on eMBMS (evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Services) standards capabilities, to broadcast live video over LTE. McAdam said the efficiency of a multicast network will also help it support its mobile TV offer. (See Verizon's Multicast LTE Video to Arrive in 2015.)
The carrier clearly sees video as the biggest traffic driver on its network, which is why it's trying to get ahead of an OTT influx by offering its own services going forward.
"Networks are very funny things to manage," McAdam said. "We tend to think they're static like we're catching up, but when you move from voice to data, it's a very different change and usage on the network. Now I'd say we're on the doorstep from moving from data to being mostly web and email to mostly video, and video is a very different animal than any of the predecessors."
— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading