November 15, 2018
Still smarting from its $1 billion write-down of the short-lived Go90 video app, including forays into original content production (“The Runner” reality TV series), Verizon is embracing high-band 5G spectrum, which claims to offer wireless network speeds 100 times faster than the current 4G spectrum.
But rather than create and market an online TV platform featuring third-party content pay-TV channels, Verizon will help market third-party over-the-top video services – similar to what Amazon Channels does.
Last month, Verizon launched 5G network coverage in Los Angeles, Houston, Indianapolis and Sacramento, Calif. Rollout included the choice of a free Apple TV with 4K functionality or Google Chromecast device, and 90-days access to online TV platform YouTube TV.
“You should expect to see us continue to look for ways to be disruptive to the distribution model,” CFO Matthew Ellis told attendees Nov. 14 at the Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media & Telecom confab in Barcelona.
In terms of overall content, Ellis said Verizon would focus internally on the newly restructured Verizon Media Group subsidiary (formerly Oath), which features three units targeting consumers, business and media, respectively.
The latter, headed by current Oath CEO Guru Gowrappan (who replaced departing Tim Armstrong),is fixated on news, sports, entertainment and finance via Verizon subsidiaries such as Yahoo!, AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch, Engadget, and Tumblr.
Verizon earlier this year partnered with the NBA for video content streamed, including live games, original programming, fantasy leagues and interactive experiences on Yahoo! Sports and other platforms.
The deal mirrored an earlier agreement with the NFL to stream in-market and national games, including national pre-season, regular season, playoff games, and the Super Bowl nationwide – regardless of mobile network.
“You’ll see us continue to do some things in content, but it’s going to be focused on those super channels within the [Verizon Media Group] platform as opposed to the kind of more traditional video [movies, TV shows] content,” said Ellis.