It’s still not close to TV Everywhere, but Verizon Communications is expanding live-TV streaming options to let FiOS customers watch CBS and Fox stations in several East Coast markets at home on tablets and smartphones.
The telco also is beefing up out-of-home live TV streaming with an additional 16 cable channels, to offer 25 total, but today that lineup doesn’t include broadcast channels or many of the most popular cable nets.
Verizon’s goal: to persuade subscribers it’s worth paying for TV as alternative Internet video services continue to expand. The slow process of securing multiplatform rights, though, has left gaps in what’s available and hindered adoption of such services.
FiOS TV and Internet customers in the New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C., metro areas can use tablets and smartphones to local CBS and Fox affiliates as well as Spanish-language networks as UniMas and Univision, the telco said. In addition, FiOS subscribers can watch up to 91 live linear national cable channels at home.
CBS and Fox both have agreements with distributors including Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Systems to provide in-home streaming on non-TV devices. However, neither they nor NBC have granted out-of-home streaming rights to pay-TV operators; ABC has cut deals with several (including Verizon) for the Watch ABC app.
Pay-TV distributors’ rights for live TV outside the home are more limited. Verizon launched with nine in September: BBC America, BBC World News, Epix, NFL Network (tablet only), Tennis Channel and Scripps Networks Interactive’s Food Network and Travel Channel.
On Thursday, Verizon announced 16 more: AXS.tv, beIN Sport, beIN Sport Espanol, Bloomberg TV, Cine Sony Television, Cooking Channel, Encore, FEARnet, NFL RedZone (tablet only), Showtime, Showtime Extreme, Sony Movie Channel, Starz, Trinity Broadcast, Universal Sports and TVGN (formerly called TV Guide Network).
Verizon says it’s in talks to add more live TV to the FiOS Mobile App, available for iPad, iPhone, select Android tablets and phones, and Kindle Fire tablets.
“Close collaboration with content and software partners allows us to deliver a seamless customer experience that will continue to become more robust and offer more variety over time,” John Wimsatt, Verizon’s senior VP of product development, said in a statement.
Other pay-TV providers are racing to secure rights for both in-home and out-of-home streaming. Comcast offers 35 live cable networks available anywhere through its Xfinity TV Go app. DirecTV, meanwhile, now offers 31 live TV channels outside the home — including HBO, Showtime, Starz and Food Network — and delivers 100 live TV in-home streaming channels.
Verizon, like other big operators, offers a slew on-demand content available on its apps. The FiOS Mobile App provides more than 45,000 VOD titles, with free and subscription-on-demand content from networks including HBO, Cinemax, Starz, Encore, Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel.