Verizon to Challenge Netflix, Cable TV with Video Streaming Package
December 7, 2011 10:36 AM
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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.
The Wall Street Journal
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RE: Is this why Cable TV prices have not come down?
12/8/2011 10:54:14 AM
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.
RE: Is this why Cable TV prices have not come down?
12/8/2011 11:27:43 AM
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.
"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen
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