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Print 13 comment(s) - last by jimbojimbo.. on Dec 9 at 10:27 AM


  (Source: static.guim.co.uk)
Verizon's Web streaming service could be available as soon as 2012

Verizon Communications Inc. is looking to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon by launching a video streaming service of its own as soon as 2012.

According to two sources, who have asked to remain anonymous due to the confidentiality of the talks, Verizon is currently negotiating with potential programming partners and is looking to offer a package of programming similar to Viacom's Epix. Epix is an American premium television channel that also offers a video-on-demand service.

Verizon has been reportedly talking with programmers over the last two years regarding its potential Web service. It aims to introduce the service outside of its current FiOS markets, which is its broadband and TV package, and could launch the service as soon as 2012.

Verizon could potentially run into some trouble with this service, though. A streaming service would challenge the traditional TV cable system, which may be a problem if Verizon Wireless decides to resell cable TV service for Comcast, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable Inc. in a $3.6 billion deal.

In addition to cutting the throat of its own sister company, Verizon also faces stiff competition from already-established streaming services like Netflix, Amazon and HBO Go. Some critics have already questioned how Verizon's movie/TV package will be any different from anyone else's.

"If this deal comes true, it's not clear to me what Verizon would bring to the table that is materially different to what others like Amazon offer," said Carlos Kirjner, analyst at Bernstein Research.

To compete, Verizon will have to have a monthly fee that is at least comparable to that of Netflix or Amazon. Verizon would also have to fight to negotiate terms comparable to Netflix.

"HBO and Netflix both spend between $1 billion and $2 billion a year on content," said Netflix CEO Reed Hastings. "If you want to compete with HBO and Netflix, you better commit to multiple-year spending between one and two billion."

Verizon seems to be pushing forward with the streaming service, however, in an effort to increase its customer base, which is currently 5 million FiOS TV subscribers. With a larger customer base, it will be easier to lower programming costs.

Sources: The Wall Street Journal, Reuters



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Is this why Cable TV prices have not come down?
By phatboye on 12/7/2011 11:46:28 AM , Rating: 4
quote:
Verizon could potentially run into some trouble with this service, though. A streaming service would challenge the traditional TV cable system, which may be a problem if Verizon Wireless decides to resell cable TV service for Comcast, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable Inc. in a $3.6 billion deal.


Comcast, Bright House Networks and Time Warner Cable Inc. should be Verizons biggest competitors in the Cable TV industry but instead of competing they are all in bed with one another. If you look at prices for their services you will notice that they all cost about the same as if they were price fixing.




By FITCamaro on 12/7/2011 1:27:16 PM , Rating: 3
What likely happens in Verizon's case, is that in order to offer FiOS in some markets where cable companies have been given monopolies by the government, they have to buy the service from Comcast or others.

And if you don't like the prices, don't pay for it. This is exactly my attitude and starting next May, I will not have cable or satellite. Their product costs more than I want to pay for what I actually use so I've decided to drop them. I'll have a HD antenna, Netflix, Hulu Plus, Playon, ESPN & ESPN3, and NFL Sunday Ticket (through PS3).


RE: Is this why Cable TV prices have not come down?
By nafhan on 12/7/2011 3:45:11 PM , Rating: 2
I have a similar set up. I can literally watch everything I want (legally). I do occasionally have to get a DVD, though, and sometimes I don't get to watch a show as soon as it's available - neither of which really bother me.

Also, if you've got Playon, you may want to save another $8 and see if normal Hulu (rather than Plus) is enough. Since I've already got Netflix's streaming library, the only reason I would consider getting Plus is for the console integration.


By FITCamaro on 12/8/2011 9:02:49 AM , Rating: 2
Do you have Playon? If so how is it?


RE: Is this why Cable TV prices have not come down?
By nafhan on 12/8/2011 10:58:40 AM , Rating: 2
By "similar" I was meaning more from a content perspective. I've heard good things about Playon, though, and I've considered getting it. Right now, a laptop hooked to the TV works fine for stuff I can't stream to my console. I use an Android app called Gmote (which is free) as a remote trackpad and keyboard. It would be kind of nice to get the laptop out of the picture, though.


By jimbojimbo on 12/9/2011 10:27:03 AM , Rating: 2
You can buy Playon for $50 but if any web site changes anything and your version can't deal with it you're out of luck. You have to pay a yearly fee to keep receiving updates.

Really get yourself a little HTPC like the Acers for $300 and you'll be able to stream EVERYTHING you want.


By rburnham on 12/8/2011 10:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
That is a pretty solid setup, although what is the benefit of having Hulu Plus, Playon and Netflix? It sounds like Hulu Plus would handle current TV shows and Netflix takes care of movies, so where does Playon fit in there as doing something the other two cannot?

Later this month, we are planning to get rid of cable TV and just use an antenna, plus Hulu Plus and Netflix. We don't watch sports, so I think we're set.


By The Raven on 12/8/2011 11:27:43 AM , Rating: 2
It is nice to hear that more people are doing this. I believe it will result in more choice over all.

The cable/sat TV package model has never made sense to me (or anyone I have ever known for that matter) and it is great to live in a day and age where we have the few choices (of delivery methods, not content) that we do have.

I would also point out that you can cut costs by turning the monthly services on and off when you don't need them. e.g. Get Netflix when you want to watch the entire Mad Men series one month and then turn it off and get Hulu for the next month when you want to get current on The Office.

All these cheap services can really add up when you subscribe to 5 of them monthly. You may as well subscribe to cable at some point lol.

At any rate I see this as good news that people are ditching one singular company for all of their entertainment needs.


By lballs421 on 12/7/2011 1:45:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If you look at prices for their services you will notice that they all cost about the same as if they were price fixing.

The Government has already granted the cable TV industry a legal monopoly. Why would they care about price fixing? The majority of American consumers have no choice for their cable provider, price fixing won't help the providers much. Their prices are similar because they all have had the same competitors... Direct TV and ATT U-verse. Now that streaming media is becoming a major player, Verizon is trying to jump in before it is too late.


By MrBlastman on 12/7/2011 1:58:33 PM , Rating: 2
The reason for this is that depending on where you live, you may or may not be able to use a given provider. Not all of them can pump cable tv into your home. It isn't a purely competitive environment.

The companies also realize that if they were to get into a price war, it would destroy their profits across the board. Complacency is the norm when you share the luxuries they do (and a tendency to RAISE prices which they have done).

I'll pass on Verizon's Netflix. I've heard enough bad things about them that I have zero desire to help fund their bottom line--I'd rather support the little guy.


By The Raven on 12/8/2011 11:13:27 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'll pass on Verizon's Netflix. I've heard enough bad things about them that I have zero desire to help fund their bottom line--I'd rather support the little guy.
Good call, but just to nit pick, I'd just refer to them as 'the different guy' instead of 'the little guy'. I mean that is what is really important here IMO.


Owning the pipes
By nafhan on 12/7/2011 12:41:42 PM , Rating: 2
What worries me about this kind of thing is that - given historical precedent - the only reason Verizon won't outright block services like Netflix, etc. is anti-trust concerns. If the legal and regulatory environment becomes less focused on that kind of thing, you can bet Verizon will start blocking services that "hog data", which coincidentally would be video streaming competitors.




Increased prices?
By KnightBreed on 12/7/2011 1:07:31 PM , Rating: 2
Too many service provides are just going to bid up the price of content for everybody.

Apple kept iTunes prices down because they were the only game in town. Consumers wanted iTunes and that gave Apple leverage to negotiate lower costs for content.

Look at Netflix. The movie industry sees the dollar signs in streaming and now have other options to deliver it. Ironically the growth and competition has led to higher prices.




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