On Demand Summit: Verizon's Denson Says OTT Providers Owe Market Position to Multichannel Business


Over-the-top video providers may be increasing the
competition in the on-demand landscape, but companies like Netflix owe
their current market position to the cable industry.

That was according to Terry Denson, vice president of global strategy at Verizon Communications, during a keynote discussion with Multichannel News' technology editor Todd Spangler at the B&C/Multichannel News On Demand Summit on Wednesday afternoon.

look at on demand as really having been founded, or whatever you want to
call it, in the multichannel business," said Denson, who worked in program-negotiating roles at Insight Communications and at MTV and ABC before joining Verizon ahead of the FiOS TV launch in 1995.

"The reason they
have a meaningful on-demand position is because of what we did among the
content providers and distributors who invested in the platform," he said. "We
accelerated and facilitated consumer behavior so that when it was time
for a Netflix, for instance, to make a decision about whether they want to
go streaming or not, streaming makes sense because the behavior for
customer consumption is now so strongly to on demand."

As for the
threat of over-the-top competition on the VOD business, Denson actually
sees it as a good thing for Verizon and others. "We think it's part of the rising tide; we're just one big ship that gets lifted."

remain competitive, Denson said, Verizon has two customer-focused
priorities: 1) that all content should be available in an on demand
format, and 2) that there ought to be mobility associated with that on

Denson acknowledged that those goals were aspirational in
some sense because content like live news and sports is not suited for
an on-demand platform.

But in terms of mobility, Verizon is striving for
a continuous viewing consumption experience, so that viewers who begin
watching an on-demand movie at home can pick up where they left off on
their tablet.

Of course when it comes to applying that model to
other types of distributed content, there are hurdles because of
differences in opinion on the business model of TV Everywhere among
rights holders, Denson said.

As for how to work through those
content relationships? "Good, healthy conversation," Denson said
tongue-in-cheek, to some laughs in the room.