Verizon Exec: Our New OTT TV Service Won’t Be a ‘Me-Too’

Focus will be on quality, not quantity, says Marni Walden
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Amid a surge of virtual MVPDs entering the market, Verizon Communications plans to somehow separate itself from the pack with an OTT TV service that delivers a tailored, high-quality package of content.

“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 Thursday at Guggenheim Media Day. “That’s not where we’re going to win.”

Walden dropped some vague hints on the direction Verizon will take with respect to the lineup for its coming OTT TV product.

“You’re going to see us think about it in a different way,” she said. “It’s definitely not quantity. It’s the right quality. There are some things you have to have, but we’re not looking for the kitchen sink on this one.”

She said Verizon will also apply some of the lessons learned from its experience with go90, its recently retooled free, ad-supported OTT service, namely that simply “having a bunch of content isn’t necessarily a winning strategy…I think you can’t have too limited, but too much [content] is a problem.”

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When Verizon puts that strategy into place and launches the service, it will be competing with an ever-expanding group of vMVPDs that include Sling TV, DirecTV Now, Hulu, fuboTV and YouTube TV.

Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam shed some light on those plans last month, noting that the new service will leverage assets from AOL and Verizon’s pending acquisition of Yahoo.

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Verizon still hasn’t announced when it will launch its vMVPD offering, though Walden noted that it will take advantage of some of the technology and expertise it gained from last year’s  acquisition of Vessel’s assets.

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“It’s not way, way out in the distance future,” she said of the launch.