Verizon to Join Virtual MVPD Race: Report

Telco preparing OTT TV service featuring ‘dozens’ of channels, Bloomberg says
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Verizon Communications will toss its hat into the virtual MVPD ring this summer and launch an OTT TV service that will be offered nationwide and feature “dozens” of channels, Bloomberg reported.

Bloomberg, which stressed that the effort is separate from the ad-based, mobile-focused go90 service and its Fios TV service, noted that Verizon is prepping the service as it amasses streaming rights from programmers to support the new offering. Of recent note, Verizon’s new carriage deal with CBS includes live streaming rights.

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Verizon declined to comment on the report. By launching an OTT TV service the company would join a growing array of virtual MVPD services that includes Sling TV, fuboTV, PlayStation Vue, DirecTV Now, as well as those on the way from YouTube and Hulu.

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Bloomberg said Verizon is eyeing OTT to delivery skinny TV bundles at prices similar to those offered by Sling TV and DirecTV Now. It’s likely that Verizon would try to sweeten the pot by exempting mobile data used to access its new OTT service when delivered on its own mobile networks.

With so many vMVPDs emerging, one question is how long cable operators can sit on the sidelines before they launch national streaming TV services of their own.

Comcast is pushing toward a Q3 launch of Xfinity Instant TV, an in-footprint, managed IPTV service, but has not announced any plans to offer a nationwide OTT video service that would theoretically compete with other cable operators.  

RELATED: Comcast Prepping Q3 Launch of ‘Xfinity Instant TV’

Comcast has been securing rights for nationwide streaming, mostly through most favored nation clauses in programming carriage contracts, but execs there have  stressed that an out-of-market OTT service would not be economical.