Snags in Carriage Talks Stall Verizon’s OTT TV Rollout Plan: Report

Launch could slip into the fall or later, Bloomberg says
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Verizon’s plan to offer a slimmed-down OTT TV service is delayed as it struggles to secure distribution deals with some of the most-watched networks, Bloomberg reported, citing unnamed people familiar with the matter.

Bloomberg said those snags, plus turnover at the Verizon video team and discussion about a final strategy, has caused the planned launch to slip into the fall, and possibly later into the year. One person told Bloomberg that the service could still be ready to go by the end of 2017.

Verizon’s been asked to comment on the report and anticipated timing of the service.

Verizon hasn’t offered a lot of detail on what it has in mind, though its coming OTT service is expected to have a national reach and compete with a growing array of virtual MVPDs that include Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, fuboTV, and PlayStation Vue.

“I don’t want to do just a me-too kind of thing,” Marni Walden, Verizon’s EVP and president of media and telematics, said in June at Guggenheim Media Day, noting that the service will focus on quality rather than quantity. “That’s not where we’re going to win.”

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Earlier, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said the new service will leverage assets from AOL and Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo. Walden also said the new offering will take advantage of some of the tech and expertise Verizon gained from its 2016 acquisition of Vessel’s assets, which are already being used for a retooled version of Verizon’s ad-based go90 service.

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