The race to launch an Internet-based TV service to entice the cable-dropping “cord-cutter” set just keeps heating up. Hot off recent news of Sony’s new deal to acquire 22 Viacom networks for its anticipated OTT (over the top) TV service, Verizon announced its own tentative plans for an Internet-based service, which could include licensing with major broadcasters, among other sources for use with mobile devices.
Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia 2014 conference in New York yesterday, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam revealed new information on the development of Verizon’s new mobile-based service. McAdam said the company expects to begin offering mobile users access to “the Big Four,” (ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC) alongside an assortment of “custom channels” by mid-2015, according to Deadline.
McAdam also discussed the potential inclusion of AwesomenessTV to Verizon’s new venture, a content-aggregation service and accompanying YouTube network with more than 55 million subscribers and 88,000 channels that DreamWorks Animation acquired for $33 million last year.
Other than an additional reference to “digital media out of the West Coast that really goes after the millennials,” there wasn’t much more in the way of details regarding the aforementioned “custom channels.” However, McAdam did have one more savory nugget of news to offer the audience that cable haters have been clamoring for: a promise of a la carte programming.
“No one wants to have 300 channels on your wireless,” McAdam said. “Everyone understands it will go to a la carte. The question is what does that transition look like.”
That admission should put a pep in cord-cutters’ steps. And the crowd should have a lot more to cheer about in the near future. Along with Sony’s new service, which will include big names like Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, and BET, AT&T recently announced it is readying its networks to deliver a similar mobile-TV experience to Verizon’s. Meanwhile, Dish Network has been making progress on its standalone OTT service as well, though it missed a slated release for summer 2014.
While slightly behind schedule, Dish’s service may be the first out of the gate, as it has already locked down a deal with Disney for properties like ESPN and ABC, and is reportedly negotiating with each of the networks it delivers via its traditional satellite service about licensing their content for the venture as well. Dish also recently bagged a multi-year contract renewal with A&E Networks that included OTT rights for live and video-on-demand transmission of its entire suite of channels, including A&E, Lifetime, History, and more.
Momentum appears to be building for each company’s respective Internet-TV endeavor, and cord-cutters’ mouths are likely beginning to water in anticipation of the growing options appearing outside the box.