Verizon CEO: Mobilizing FiOS Video Is ‘Next Phase’

Lowell McAdam Talks Up Potential Of ‘OnCue’ Assets, Over-The-Top Opportunities 3/05/2014 10:02 AM Eastern

Integrating mobile applications into the FiOS TV platform represents the next phase for the telco’s growing pay-TV service, Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said Tuesday at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco.

Some of that work will involve tying in the “OnCue” assets acquired from Intel Media and the pursuit of wireless and over-the-top options that would enable Verizon to bring more mobility to the FiOS video platform, he said. 

In the early going, Verizon will look to secure rights that will help to expand the number of channels that can be offered out-of-the home via its authenticated FiOS TV Everywhere service. Verizon now offers out-of-home access to about 25 channels, but hopes to push that to “around 110” by the end of the year, McAdam said.  

McAdam also shed more light on how OnCue will factor into Verizon’s multiscreen IP video plans. Those assets, he said, “gives us an IPTV platform which allows us to make that seamless across the tablet and the smartphone and the PC and the TV set.”

As reported earlier, it’s understood that Verizon’s near-term plan for OnCue is to develop a next-gen service that can match up with Comcast’s X1 platform while also giving telco independent control of its set-top roadmap and trimming CPE capex costs.

On that note, Mc Adam said the “set-top box in an OnCue environment is a little bit bigger than the end of my thumb, so it's very easy to tie into the LTE as well as the Wi-Fi network.”

Still, it’s also widely believed that Verizon is also salting away rights to take pay-TV services out-of-footprint eventually.

When asked about the cord-cutting trend, McAdam acknowledged that consumers are being more deeply drawn to broadband than they are to less-profitable traditional TV packages.

“So I think that over-the-top is coming,” he said. “Our goal is to work with the content providers. I have personally had discussions with the CEOs of the large content companies, and we would love to partner with them to see how we can take FiOS content mobile-ly across the country.”

But how Verizon would execute on that is an open question, whether it’s offered in a bring-your-own broadband model or a “pure over-the-top play on LTE,” he said. “We think you could probably do a wireless over-the-top play as well…so we are going to partner with them [the content providers] and see if we can find a model.”