At CES, the big consumer electronics show underway this week in Las Vegas (when the lights are working), TechCrunch has learned that Verizon is working away on a couple of new services that will see the carrier once again trying to grow its business beyond basic broadband and mobile connectivity, as it gears up to compete with the likes of Amazon and other tech companies, as well as other OTT players like Hulu and Netflix, and stave off the threat of becoming a “dumb pipe.”
A source inside the company (which owns TechCrunch by way of Oath, the combined business of AOL and Yahoo, but maintains a hands-off policy editorially) confirmed to us that the carrier is planning an ‘over the top’ content offering. It’s also working on a connected home product, a platform for residential customers to help managed things like smart lights, heating and alarm systems.
It is not clear when these products might be launched, nor what kind of pricing they might have. Verizon declined to comment for this article.
There have been earlier reports of Verizon working on a new video service: those reports say it has been delayed in part because of executive changes at the company, and in part because of ongoing negotiations around the content.
From what we understand, the service will see Verizon focus on packaging video content in “channels” that could take the form of standalone apps, which would be distributed beyond the company’s FiOS broadband service.
The channels would be designed around themes like news, sports and entertainment and will bring together content already owned by Oath (which includes TechCruch, but also Engadget, Huffington Post, and many other online properties), with premium content from third party sources. It’s not clear if the service would be a paid offering or ad-supported.
This new video service is distinct from Go90, a free, ad-supported OTT video effort that Verizon has been running since 2015 aimed at millennial audiences that has had mixed success so far.
Each channel of the new service would feature “marquee” content, our source said, which would help drive subscribers and viewers and help differentiate the content from a sea of video competitors. As one example, the sports channel might leverage some of the NFL content that Verizon recently secured for $1.5 billion.
At the CES event, Oath’s CEO Tim Armstrong talked a little about the high cost of content — something that could be offset were the material leveraged in more strategic ways. “It was a lot of money for the
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