Verizon: Streaming Video Use Up 21% During Pandemic

Consumer habits during the ongoing pandemic have altered entertainment activities in the home. New data from Verizon found that traffic on major streaming video sites is currently 21% above pre-pandemic levels — supporting the notion that the nation has a larger appetite for streaming.

In a survey conducted by Morning Consult for Verizon, about 44% of respondents said the TV and streaming content has helped them connect with friends and family during the pandemic. Among those who currently stream content, 82% anticipate that they will be spending more or the same amount of time that they are now watching content through streaming services a year from now.

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Two-in-three U.S. adults (67%) said they have been spending at least three hours per week watching live TV. More than half (59%) said the same about watching content through a streaming service.

Nearly half of adults (47%) said they have subscribed to a new streaming service since the start of the pandemic. Most say they have binge watched shows at least once or twice (70%). While there is no final verdict on American’s preference to “binge watch” versus watch episodic content, 47% of younger respondents (Gen Z) said they prefer to binge.

Most U.S. adult households (62%) currently subscribe to a cable or satellite television service. Nearly 1 in 4 (23%) said they’ve cut the cord. Among millennials, more than 21% said they have never subscribed to a cable or satellite television service.

“The pandemic has forced all of us to face challenges we never considered,” chief technical officer Kyle Malady said in a statement. “A year into the pandemic, data usage on Verizon networks remains at almost 31% above pre-pandemic levels, a clear indicator that Internet consumption and the acceleration of technology adoption are major byproducts of this moment. We’ve seen the shift to digital jump ahead five to seven years.”

Meanwhile, mobile gaming has really taken off during the pandemic. Nearly 50% of respondents report that they have purchased or downloaded a mobile game at least once since the pandemic started, while 36% reported doing the same for a computer or console game.

Nearly a third of respondents (31%) said that they spend three or more hours a week playing games on their mobile devices. About one-third of adults who’ve spent time online gaming (32%) and talking to friends or family via video calls (32%) said they were spending more time doing these activities in the early months of the pandemic than they are now, while nearly half say they were spending about the same amount of time as they are now (45% and 46%, respectively).

Verizon Lost 298,000 Fios Video Subs in 2020

It may be a 5G future for Verizon, but the reality for the telecom’s Fios Video pay-TV service is ongoing subscriber losses. The company Jan. 26 reported 72,000 Fios Video net losses in the fourth-quarter, ended Dec. 31, 2020, reflecting the ongoing consumer shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings. Verizon lost 298,000 Fios Video subs in 2020 to finish the year with 3.85 million.

That compared with video losses of 51,000 and 225,000 in the previous Q4 quarter and fiscal year in 2019, respectively.

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Like other pay-TV operators, Verizon’s silver lining in the pay-TV subscriber exodus is ongoing growth in Fios high-speed Internet. While consumers covet Netflix & Co., they still need to pay a third party to get the services into their homes. Verizon added 92,000 broadband subs in Q4, 300,000 subs in 2020.

That compared with gains of 35,000 and 131,000 high-speed Internet subs, respectively, in 2019. Verizon ended 2020 with more than 6.2 million broadband subs.

“2020 was marked by transformational change, including the launch of our 5G nationwide network,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement.

Verizon once again is the exclusive mobile video streamer of upcoming Super Bowl LV on Feb. 7 in Tampa Bay, Fla. The telecom also renewed its distribution agreement with Disney, affording wireless subs free 12-month access to Disney+ SVOD service.

“We are excited to lead technological advances beyond mobile devices, and create new opportunities for growth across multiple industries,” Vestberg said.

 

Verizon: Online Holiday Shopping Traffic Up 82%

With the annual post-Thanksgiving Black Friday retail event a week away, new research data suggests consumers have already begun their winter holiday shopping — online, with e-commerce traffic up 82% in November compared with the previous-year period.

The seventh annual edition of the Verizon Business Retail Trends Report finds holiday shopping surging early this year and confirms how COVID-19 restrictions and related health concerns could be linked to an increase in online shopping this holiday season.

Verizon says mobility traffic to and around the U.S.’s largest malls — as evidenced by their cell phones — has decreased dramatically from last year. According to the telecom, people are moving to and around malls 20% less than they did last year during early November. There’s also a 28% increase in use on payment sites versus last year.

“Our report confirms what we expected to be true, significant shifts continue from in-person, brick and mortar shopping to online shopping,” Michele Dupre, VP of sales vertical markets, retail and hospitality for Verizon Business, said in a statement. “What’s surprising and promising for retail stores is while mobility around U.S. malls is down from last year, it’s up significantly at 59% since the height of the pandemic. Online retailers will need to continue to invest in creative and innovative customer experiences, to capture revenue and offset lost sales from in-person shopping.”

Verizon Fios TV Subs Down Nearly 30% Through Nine Months

The pay-TV subscriber hits keep coming.

Verizon Oct. 21 reported that its Fios TV pay-TV service finished the third quarter (ended Sept. 30) with 3.92 million subscribers — down 6.6% from 4.2 million subs in the previous-year period. Through nine months of the fiscal year, Fios TV has jettisoned 277,000 subscribers, or 29.9% from the previous-year period.

Like most pay-TV operators, Verizon has seen an uptick in high-speed Internet subscribers requiring broadband to access over-the-top video services such as Netflix, Disney+, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

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Verizon reported 139,000 Fios Internet net additions, an increase from 30,000 Fios Internet net additions in third-quarter 2019, and 144,000 Fios Internet net additions across consumer and business, the most since fourth-quarter 2014.

Broadband subscriptions increased 4.1% to 6.1 million, from 5.9 million during the previous-year period. Through nine months, broadband subs have risen 96.2%, or 208,000 subs, since last year.

Verizon Loses 81K Fios TV Subs in Q2; Down 283K Subs From Last Year

Verizon’s status as a pay-TV operator continues to slip with the telecom operator July 24 disclosing it lost 81,000 Fios TV subscribers in the second quarter, ended June 30. The telecom has lost 283,000 Fios TV subs in the past 12 months, ending the period with 3.98 million.

Verizon added 10,000 broadband subs, bringing it high-speed Internet sub base to nearly 6 million.

With more than 115 million wireless subs, Verizon was a a go-to launch partner for Disney+, helping the SVOD newbie quickly gain market traction in the U.S. offering free 12-month service to all new and existing wireless subscribers, as well as new Fios and 5G customers.

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This month Verizon inked a deal with ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV deal affording wireless subs access to Pluto’s myriad channels featuring on-demand content from Paramount Pictures, MTV, CBS, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, among other sources. Starting today some Verizon devices will update to add Pluto’s 250+ original and branded channels.

In 2018, Verizon shut down its go90 ad-supported streaming video service after a three-year run, resulting in a near $1 billion write-down — and the subsequent exit of CEO Lowell McAdam.”

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New CEO Hans Vestberg said the telecom remains focused on its strategic direction, quickly adapting to the new retail environment during the COVID-19 crisis.

“We have embraced, engaged in and responded to important social movements happening throughout the world, and will continue to be at the forefront of initiatives that move the world forward for everyone,” Vestberg said in a statement.

Law&Crime Network Bows on Verizon Fios TV

Law&Crime, a true crime and live trial streaming network, is now available on Verizon Fios TV. Available on Sling TV, fuboTV, Philo, Vidgo, Comcast Xfinity, Xumo, TV Plus as well as select basic cable providers in the U.S. and the Caribbean, Law&Crime is creating and acquiring original programming as part of its daily lineup and unscripted series portfolio.

Original programming includes “The Daily Debrief” and “Brian Ross Investigates,” hosted by former ABC Chief Investigative Correspondent, Brian Ross.

Dan Abrams

The network, founded by will continue producing original documentary-style programs on high profile trials for other cable networks through its production arm, Law&Crime Productions, and will now be adding trial documentaries to its own primetime lineup.

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Most recently, the network led national coverage of the Harvey Weinstein trial and provided the only live coverage with daily analysis of the high-profile murder trial of wealthy real estate scion Robert Durst.

“The evolution and expansion of Law&Crime has exceeded my wildest expectations and hopes” said Law&Crime Founder/CEO, Dan Abrams. “Our growth from digital to OTT to cable is a tribute to the viewer appetite for the true crime genre but the key for us has been in becoming the dominant player in the live trial space. Verizon Fios and Cincinatti Bell are two key launches for the network in the cable space with many more to come.”

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In addition to Weinstein and Durst, over the past 12 months, the network has led the nation’s coverage of other high profile trials including the murder trial of Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, the Brooke Skyler Richardson trial, and the case of Chris Watts who admitted to killing his wife and daughters in Colorado.

In April, Law&Crime generated record numbers of more than 80 million cross-platform minutes viewed and an average watch-time of 30 minutes.

Verizon CEO: 800,000 Subs Can’t Pay Their Monthly Bill

Fallout from the economic shutdown across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic continues to reverberate with millions more filing for unemployment and not being able to pay their bills.

Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, appearing May 14 on CNBC’s “Squawk Box,” said about 2.5% of the telecom’s subscribers (about 800,000) can’t pay their monthly bill.

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“The majority of them already had a credit history with us … and we saw some challenges for them to pay their bills [due to the pandemic],” Vestberg said.

The executive said there has been a slight improvement (“not substantial”) in the past two weeks as the economy slowly jumpstarts operations and customers feel less stressed meeting financial obligations.

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“At least it’s not going in the other direction,” Vestberg said. The telecom earlier this month inked a distribution deal with ViacomCBS’s ad-supported VOD platform, Pluto TV.

Last month, Verizon disclosed it lost 84,000 Fios TV pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter ended March 31. The loss, which mirrored ongoing secular changes within the premium television ecosystem, was up more than 52% from a loss of 55,000 subs in the previous-year period.

Pluto TV, Verizon Ink AVOD Streaming Deal

ViacomCBS’s ad-supported VOD service Pluto TV continues its aggressive distribution strategy with a reported deal with Verizon encompassing both mobile and pay-TV.

Verizon, which has struggled to create a proprietary over-the-top video strategy, would use Pluto TV as a entry point into the AVOD market, which includes Fox-owned Tubi, Crackle, Shout! Factory TV, The Roku Channel, Xumo and IMDb TV, among others.

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Verizon, which has 116 million wireless customers and 10 million combined FiOS TV and FiOS Internet subscribers, failed spectacularly with the short-lived go90 mobile streaming video service that resulted in a $1 billion loss for the telecom.

For Pluto TV, which ViacomCBS acquired last year for $340 million, the Verizon deal mirrors other recent deals with TiVo and AMC Networks. Pluto claims more than 20 million monthly active users, 170 content partners for largely catalog programming and more than 30 distribution partners, including Roku, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Comcast’s Xfinity and Xbox 360.

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Verizon Q1 Video Consumption Up 41%, Loses 84,000 Subs Regardless

Verizon April 24 disclosed it lost 84,000 Fios TV pay-TV subscribers in the first quarter ended March 31. The loss, which mirrored ongoing secular changes within the premium television ecosystem, was up more than 52% from a loss of 55,000 subs in the previous-year period.

The telecom continues to lose subs to alternative video distribution channels such as over-the-top, dropping 254,000 subs in the past 12 months to just stay above four million.

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At the same time, Fios Internet added 59,000 broadband subscribers in the quarter, in addition to 153,000 subs gained since last year.

Verizon said video consumption increased 41% during the quarter — a surge through April 13 that it attributed to increasing numbers of subs quarantined in their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We will emerge from this crisis stronger, knowing we provided critical connectivity to our customers, and especially our first responders, while maintaining our commitment to investing in our 5G and Fiber strategies,” CEO Hans Vestberg said in a statement.

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Verizon Offering Subs Free At-Home Educational Tools and Entertainment

Verizon has joined a growing list of media distributors offering subscribers free access to content in the home as the country deals with the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

As the COVID-19 pandemic causes millions to remain indoors, Verizon is giving subs learning tools from Quizlet, Epic and Chegg Study, as well as entertainment channels such as ViacomCBS’ Showtime and MGM’s Epix, among others.

“Connectivity is incredibly important during times of crisis, so we’re doing as much as we can to help meet the evolving needs of families at a time like this,” Ronan Dunne, CEO Verizon Consumer Group, said in a statement.

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In April, Verizon wireless and Fios pay-TV subs will be able to experience up to 60 days of free access to education resources, tools and games at no cost, including: Quizlet: Students and teachers can get a Quizlet Plus account to study languages, science, math, history and more with engaging learning tools and flashcards.

Bookful: Children can bring books to life with hundreds of augmented reality and 3D interactive education books and games to improve comprehension.

Chegg: Students will have access to the new Chegg Study Pack with step-by-step textbook solutions, expert Q&A, practice tests, grammar and plagiarism checkers, and a step-by-step math solver.

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Epic!: ​Parents and children will get access to Epic’s 40,000-book digital library, used by more than one million teachers.

Customers can visit Verizon.com or this link and follow instructions to access these services in April, as available.

Beginning April 1, Fios TV customers who don’t currently subscribe to select premium channels will get access to 30 days of free programming through their set top box, and with no extra sign-ups, including Showtime original series such as “Homeland” and “Billions,” as well as films and documentaries.

Epix original series, including “Godfather of Harlem” and “Belgravia,” premiering April 12, on Verizon. Gaiam TV Fit and Yoga instructional exercise videos, yoga, pilates and meditation.

Fios TV will give subs access to channels that may not currently be included in their subscription. Programmers offering expanded viewing of their content include news and entertainment outlets such as Fox News Channel, MSNBC, CNN, Discovery Family, BBC America and more. Customers will see additional channels available in their Fios TV listings on a rolling basis starting early next week.

Verizon is also pledging support to consumers impacted by COVID-19 through the launch of a weekly streaming music and entertainment series to support small businesses, waiving late fees and overage charges for residential and small business customers impacted by COVID-19, free international calling for consumer wireless and home voice customers to CDC level 3 countries, unlimited domestic calling for wireless consumers on limited-minute plans, waived activation fees on new wireless lines of service and upgrades, additional 15GB of high speed data automatically added for wireless consumer and small business customers, and a new Internet option for low-income households.