Verizon doesn’t know what it should do about cord-cutting in the United States. The company could choose to stay put and embrace online video through existing platforms like Aol and Yahoo or create another internet-based service in a crowded field. But, in 2018, Verizon will let us know what its decision is. That’s when the company is going to have a plan for the future of television.
Lowell McAdam, Verizon’s head honcho, admitted a decision needs to come within the next six months. Verizon currently serves nearly 5 million customers with television service through the FiOS brand; however, growth has slowed due to the rise of video streaming. Services like Netflix and Hulu have become the go-to option for entertainment, and many of the other traditional television providers have opted to create internet-based options.
DirecTV, which is owned by AT&T, introduced DirecTV Now in late 2016. Prior to that, Dish Network created Sling TV. Now there are even more options from Sony, Hulu, and Google. Verizon will likely see the space busier than today by the time its decision is made.
McAdam said the following at the Bloomberg Sooner Than You Think Conference:
“An over-the-top platform is absolutely critical for us. Even so, there’s no big [merger and acquisition] planned for us.”
Based on that statement, it doesn’t look like Verizon is watching any existing service to easily get involved in the market. It’ll go the route of assembling its own platform. Fortunately the technology is already there. Verizon built Go90, the video streaming service for millennials, with pieces of an old Intel project. OnCue was purchased by Verizon in 2013 with the intent to create a live TV streaming service down the road. Due to unclear demand, Verizon modified the technology. Now, with tech and media companies rushing to internet-based feeds of regular channels, Verizon could use OnCue’s framework and other assets for a proper offering.
The big delay for Verizon is a lack of partners. There aren’t enough television networks agreeing to be part of the service. Verizon originally planned to launch something this summer, but that window has passed and the company is looking ahead to 2018.