Verizon's Mobile-First Service to Serve Up Scripps Fare

To Offer 45+ HGTV, Food, Travel, DIY, Cooking Series
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Verizon said it has struck a multi-year content licensing deal with Scripps Networks Interactive for the carrier's mobile-first OTT service that is expected to debut this summer.

Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the agreement covers more than 45 series from Scripps Networks Interactive stable of brands, including Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, DIY Network and Cooking Channel. Specific shows to be offered include House Hunters (HGTV), Cutthroat Kitchen (Food Network), Bizarre Foods (Travel Channel, pictured above), Rehab Addict (DIY Network) and My Grandmother’s Ravioli (Cooking Channel).

Verizon’s  OTT service is expected to target cord-cutters and millennials that have gravitated to digital formats and smartphones and other mobile devices. An nScreenMedia study found that OTT consumption or original digital video among U.S. millennials rose 21% in 2014.

Verizon has not announced pricing on the coming mobile-first video service, but it has announced several other content partners for it,  including ACC Digital Network, Campus Insiders, CBS Sports, ESPN, 120 Sports and Awesomeness TV. 

The subscription offering will be network-agnostic, but will “work best” on Verizon networks, Marni Walden, EVP and president of product innovation and new business at Verizon, said on a conference call earlier this week following Verizon’s completed acquisition of AOL. She also confirmed that “ad-sponsored data” will be part of Verizon’s new offering, which will feature on-demand and some live TV programming.

“As mobile consumption continues to increase, it’s important that we provide audiences with the opportunity to enjoy the series and videos they love across the fullest possible range of devices,” said Henry Ahn, executive vice president of content distribution for Scripps Networks Interactive, which also has distribution on the new Sling TV service. “Great content will always connect with audiences, and this agreement with Verizon provides new and existing viewers with another way to engage with our powerful lifestyle brands.”

“Beyond convenience, it is first-choice content on a first-choice platform,” added Terry Denson, vice president of content strategy and acquisition at Verizon. “And being able to deliver this seamlessly via mobile, to an audience that is passionate about these genres is that much more powerful.”