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Verizon Scores New OTT Content Deals

Mari Silbey
4/16/2015

With an announced summer launch date rolling ever closer, Verizon revealed today that it has signed several new content deals in support of its planned mobile video service. The deals are all sports-related and include agreements with ACC Digital Network, Campus Insiders, CBS Sports, ESPN and 120 Sports. The licensed content focuses heavily on live events, game highlights, commentary and sports documentaries.

Verizon reiterated in its press release today that it's targeting millennial consumers with new "mobile-first" video offerings. The company previously signed over-the-top deals for access to AwesomenessTV and DreamWorksTV, but it has not detailed whether or how it might package those assets together with the newly licensed sports content. In fact, EVP and CFO Fran Shammo hinted during an earnings call in January that Verizon is working on several different mobile video services, noting he would have a lot more to say about the business model "when we launch our first product this summer." (See Verizon, Sony Primp for OTT Debuts and Verizon Likes OTT Video Prospects.)

Shammo has also repeatedly said that Verizon will use LTE multicast technology for its mobile video products. However, it's unclear how compelling that option would be for consumers. While multicast technology can save operators significant bandwidth by consolidating the number of video streams needed to distribute content, any video delivered over a mobile network has the potential to push users past their bandwidth caps. Budget-conscious customers in particular are likely to gravitate toward watching video on mobile devices over WiFi, rather than risk expensive data overages.


For all the latest news from the wireless networking and services sector, check out our dedicated Mobile content channel here on Light Reading.


It's also unclear where Verizon might draw the line between a mobile-specific video service and a broader online video offering. Shammo has highlighted the trend toward over-the-top services, and has cited successful efforts by companies like Dish Network and HBO as evidence that new business models are possible. The CFO has not, however, indicated what path Verizon will follow, except to say it won't be "a traditional linear TV model."

— Mari Silbey, special to Light Reading

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mendyk
mendyk
4/17/2015 | 4:54:40 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
I've been called worse -- at least twice a day.
Ariella
Ariella
4/17/2015 | 4:52:54 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
@mendyK Then we'll have to start calling you "Mendy OK"
mendyk
mendyk
4/17/2015 | 4:32:36 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
Ask anybody -- "Optimist" is my middle name. Well, technically, I don't have a middle name. But if I did, that would be a good one. Like naming a black cat Snowflake.
Ariella
Ariella
4/17/2015 | 4:23:34 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
<Of course, I'm an incurable optimist on these matters.> @mendyK I take it you mean in these matters only. You don't come across as an incurable optimist in general. I generally assume that progress will be a lot slower than it has to be. 
mendyk
mendyk
4/17/2015 | 3:44:37 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
We're living with a video delivery model that is rooted in the 1970s, mainly because too many entities stand to lose money if it goes away. But it will go away, and maybe within the next five years. Of course, I'm an incurable optimist on these matters.
Ariella
Ariella
4/17/2015 | 2:12:39 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
@mendyk Isn't that what brings people to exclaim, "there's nothing on!" even when they get hundreds of channels? It makes me feel quite old to say I remember when there were 3 network, plus 5,9, 11, and 13. Cable did exist but wasn't so popular yet.
Ariella
Ariella
4/17/2015 | 2:09:24 PM
Re: The Un-Bundle
@mendyK It would be quite a step toward truthful representation to see the channels represented that way, "300-plus-channels-which-includes-about-200-dreck-channels bundle. "
KBode
KBode
4/17/2015 | 1:52:34 PM
Re: Missing
Yes, and I imagine with AT&T shelling out DirecTV for $48 billion, they're not going to be eager to let that exclusive arrangemenyt walk anytime soon. Assuming regulators approve the deal, which indications suggest they will...
Phil_Britt
Phil_Britt
4/17/2015 | 11:51:26 AM
Re: Missing
DirecTV and NFl renewed recently, don't know for how many years. I don't think agreement will end any time soon because the deal is the jewel of DirecTV's offer.
mendyk
mendyk
4/17/2015 | 11:50:48 AM
The Un-Bundle
Today VZ announced that it will start offering what looks like vertical video packages at a lower price than its 300-plus-channels-which-includes-about-200-dreck-channels bundle. It's only a small step toward a la carte packages, but a step nonetheless.
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