While an official announcement came back in March, there hasn’t been a whole lot revealed yet about Verizon’s new streaming television service. Verizon vice president Marni Walden provided a little insight to what we can expect while speaking at Guggenheim Media Day.
Echoing comments by CEO Lowell McAdam, Walden said simply having a lot of channels wasn’t enough. Instead, their offerings would be “different.” “Originals are important and sports are really important. But we don’t want to do just a ‘me too’ thing out there,” he said. “You’re going to see us do things in a different way. It’s definitely not about quantity though. There are some things you have to have but we’re not looking for the kitchen sink on this one.”
It makes sense that Verizon will be looking to take a unique approach. They’re joining a packed streaming television market with “veterans” like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue and newcomers DIRECTV NOW, Hulu, and YouTube.
For those services, broadcast networks are key. Live sporting events are also crucial (leading to the fast rise of FuboTV), as are local networks. But there’s still a lot of traditional cable programming like Viacom and Discovery that isn’t available on streaming services.
It’s not clear where Verizon’s focus will be exactly, and an exact launch date hasn’t been confirmed. But what is plain to see is that the company’s approach to content is changing. Several years ago, all Verizon did was license content for their pay platform.
Since then, Verizon has acquired assets that can control and take to any platform their customers are on, including Fios, mobile, streaming and more.
Perhaps the biggest area Verizon could be “different” though, is in the area of quality. Both Sling TV and DIRECTV NOW were plagued with problems at release, but they’re not backed by the same network Verizon is. If Verizon can learn from the mistakes of other companies and simply put a reliable product on the market, this will be an interesting one to watch.