Verizon to Join ‘Virtual MSO’ Fray in Mid-2015 with Wireless TV Service

Verizon Communications expects to launch a wireless TV service late in the first half of 2015, which would combine broadcast networks and an a-la-carte collection of cable and digital media channels, topper Lowell McAdam said at an investor conference Thursday.

According to McAdam, among cable programmers, there’s been an attitude shift among cable programmers toward accepting a new over-the-top model for delivering pay TV.

“It’s moved from almost a stiff-arm to much more of an embrace,” the Verizon chairman and CEO said, speaking at Goldman Sachs’ Communacopia conference in New York.

Verizon’s wireless TV bundle will include “the Big Four for sure” — a reference to ABC, CBS, Fox and NBC — which would be delivered via multicast technology over wireless, McAdam said. The rest of the lineup, McAdam said, would be delivered via unicast and could include “very targeted” digital content such as DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV. The service will be separate from the Verizon FiOS TV service, he emphasized.

SEE ALSO: Verizon Paying About $200 Mil for Intel’s Internet TV Group: Sources

“No one wants to have 300 channels on your wireless device,” McAdam said. “I think everyone understands it will go to a la carte. The question is, what does that transition look like.”

Verizon has not announced deals with any TV programmers for such a service to date.

In January, Verizon paid about $200 million to acquire Intel’s OnCue OTT division. Intel, before it decided to bail on the plan, had been developing technology and a service offering to compete with pay-TV services.

Others cooking up OTT services aimed at offering an alternative to traditional cable or satellite TV include Sony — which on Tuesday announced a distribution pact with Viacom — and Dish Network, which has deals with Disney/ESPN and A+E Networks.

McAdam said he wasn’t worried that OTT services would eat into Verizon’s pay-TV biz. “Nobody at this point makes much money, if any, on content, distributing content,” McAdam said. “Where you make your money is in the transport.”

If the pay-TV model went to a “customized” 20-channel package, delivered over FiOS broadband, “that’s terrific,” he said.

Meanwhile, Verizon Wireless is a major NFL partner, with exclusive distribution rights to the league’s games for smartphones. McAdam addressed the ongoing controversy over former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice, who was suspended by the NFL after video surfaced of him assaulting a woman who was at the time his fiancee (and is now his wife).

“Verizon has a long track record of taking a very strong stand on domestic violence,” McAdam said. Alluding to a report that the NFL had been made aware of the video in question in April, he said, “I know [NFL commissioner] Roger Goodell quite well and he is a man of very high integrity, and I will not believe there is some conspiracy to cover this up.”

Added McAdam, “At this point, I’m satisfied with the actions (the NFL has) taken.”

More Biz

  • Andy Signore Screen Junkies

    'Honest Trailers' Creator Andy Signore Settles Defy Media Suit

    Andy Signore, the creator of Screen Junkies’ “Honest Trailers,” has settled a lawsuit against Defy Media challenging his firing for alleged sexual misconduct. Signore was one of the first figures to lose his job in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein harassment revelations in October 2017. Defy Media, which then owned Screen Junkies, terminated him [...]

  • Singer-rapper Psy performs during the 70th

    YG Agency Boss Quits as K-Pop Scandals Expand

    Yang Hyun-suk last week resigned from his remaining positions at YG Entertainment. The talent agency he co-founded is deeply mired in a series of inter-linked scandals that stretch from drugs to prostitution. Problems started with the band Bigbang and its star Seungri, but now also encompass other YG artists. Hwang Bo-kyung was appointed as the [...]

  • NEW YORK, NY – JUNE, 24:

    LGBTQ Stars Honored at Variety’s Power of Pride Celebration

    New York City felt the full Power of Pride on Monday, as Variety celebrated its inaugural issue devoted to the annual recognition of LGBTQ people worldwide. At an intimate gathering at Mr. Purple, the rooftop bar at Hotel Indigo Lower East Side in Manhattan, Variety’s cover stars and luminaries gathered for cocktails and the unveiling [...]

  • Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    Motown Seeks to Block 'O-Town' Trademark

    UPDATED: The boy band O-Town briefly rose to fame in 2000, with a star turn on MTV’s reality series “Making the Band.” But the reformed group has just one obstacle to its efforts to trademark its name: Motown Recordings. The label’s parent company, Universal Music Group, is trying to block the band from registering “O-Town” [...]

  • Alyssa Milano

    Alyssa Milano Settles $10 Million Suit With Former Accountant

    Actress Alyssa Milano has settled a legal battle with her former accountant as the case was on the verge of going to trial. Milano and her husband, agent David Bugliari, filed suit in 2017, alleging that accountant Kenneth Hellie had forged her signature on checks, failed to pay overdue bills and taxes and allowed costs [...]

  • J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With

    J Balvin ‘Amicably’ Parts Ways With Longtime Manager Rebeca Leon

    J Balvin and his longtime manager Rebeca León have “amicably” parted ways, reps for the singer and León confirmed to Variety. The news was first reported by Billboard. León — who also oversees the careers of fast-rising Spanish singer Rosalia as well as Colombian superstar Juanes, with whom she founded Lionfish Entertainment — began managing Balvin early in his career [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content