Joining the "TV Everywhere" fray, Verizon Communications is pairing up with Time Warner Inc. for the telco's initial test run of an online video service offering cable shows to FiOS TV and Internet subscribers over any broadband connection.
Verizon's trial service, dubbed FiOS TV Online, initially will include content from Time Warner's TNT and TBS networks, and the telco said it will soon include content from other providers.
Comcast last month launched On Demand Online with content form about two dozen networks, including Time Warner Inc.'s TNT, TBS and HBO. This week Time Warner Cable also is announcing its plans to offer movies and TV shows online to customers for no extra charge, and other pay-TV providers, including DirecTV, are expected to hop on the TV Everywhere bandwagon as well.
"When we first announced the TV Everywhere initiative, we hoped others in the industry would soon sign on to provide consumers with more on-demand television content over all platforms including broadband," Time Warner Inc. CEO Jeff Bewkes said in a statement. "We are pleased to partner with Verizon to deliver TNT and TBS programming on-demand and online at no additional cost to customers and to do so in a progressive manner that builds the business for the future."
Unlike the current iteration of Comcast's On Demand Online service -- which is available only over the MSO's own network and Fancast and Comcast.net -- FiOS TV Online will let customers access the online programming at the networks' Web sites, TNT.tv and TBS.com.
"As the appetite for instant, easy access to high-quality entertainment continues to explode, only Verizon is able to deliver to customers what they want, wherever they go," Verizon vice president of FiOS product management Shawn Strickland said in a statement.
Verizon spokewoman Heather Wilner said the trial, which started last week, currently involves about 500 FiOS TV customers and will scale up over the next few months. She said while initially the content is accessible via the programmer sites, FiOS TV Online could be available through Verizon sites as well.
"Part of what we're doing is figuring out where consumers want to go to get their content," Wilner said.
Trial participants will be able to watch TV shows on their PCs using any broadband connection, after logging on using their Verizon Online user names and passwords.
Strickland said the telco will incorporate customer feedback from the FiOS TV Online trial to refine the service.
Verizon has offered online video to its broadband customers since 2005, with online services like Starz Play, ESPN360, Disney Connection, YES Network and NFL Game Extra. In addition, Verizon is getting ready to launch online content from Epix, the joint venture of Viacom's Paramount Pictures, MGM and Lionsgate.