Verizon to Take on DirecTV Now and Sling TV With New Streaming TV Package Launching This Summer

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Verizon Communications is gearing up to enter the ever-growing online streaming TV market, alongside competitors like DirecTV Now, Sling TV, PlayStation Vue, as well as soon-to-launch bundles from Hulu and YouTube. Verizon is currently securing streaming rights from TV networks ahead of a nationwide launch of its cord-cutting service, which is said to show up for customers as soon as this summer, according to people familiar with the company's plans (via Bloomberg).


"Dozens" of channels will be on offer, and the service will act as a separate entity from Verizon's own teen-based go90 video app and FiOS Home TV offering. In terms of cost, the sources said that Verizon will enter the market with a bundle that runs somewhere between Sling TV's basic $20/month package and DirecTV Now's $35/month starting price. Specific channel offerings, and the amount that will be available, were not divulged.

Verizon’s preparations highlight the growing pressure to provide a cheaper, smaller package of TV networks to viewers who are turned off by a glut of programming available on traditional cable packages. Dish Network Corp. introduced a similar service, Sling TV, two years ago, and AT&T Inc.’s DirecTV Now came out late last year. Sling’s basic package costs $20 a month, while DirecTV Now starts at $35 for 60 channels. Verizon’s will probably be similarly priced, the people said.

It's expected for Verizon's bundle to follow the usual availability on platforms like iOS, Apple TV, and other set-top streaming boxes including Roku devices. According to the people familiar with Verizon's plans, it's currently "unclear" whether or not customers will have to be tied into Verizon's phone services to access the TV bundle. AT&T's DirecTV Now doesn't have such a restriction, but customers do get a discount if they sign up for both phone and TV services.

Although there are already plenty of cord-cutting options for users to choose from at present, more are coming down the line this year, including an anticipated launch this spring of Hulu's online TV service. At one point Apple was hoping to become a competitor in the live-streaming service field with its own dedicated cord-cutting bundle, but rumors of that service died down after news came out that the company was "frustrated" by its repeated inability to reach mutually beneficial terms with network programmers.

Tag: Verizon

Top Rated Comments

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47 months ago
Good; increased competition is a win for consumers. This is a market that has been unfriendly to consumers for far too long.
Score: 11 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago
With the ATT offer that put DirecTV Now at $10/month I decided to hold my nose and try it. I'm not impressed so far. They specifically advertise for Apple TV (to the point they had an offer to send one free with three month subscription) yet they don't support the full iOS single sign on system. Beyond that, over half of the channels they support don't offer their service as a method of authentication for the app based experience (which means no direct integration to Apple's "TV" app). Then on the local channel front there's a glaring hole in that CBS evidently hasn't formed a deal so they're simply not present. Finally the caching process on Apple TV is horrendous, if you scroll through a list of shows and select any of them to view details then hit the back button, you're back at the top of the infinite scroll and have to wait again for it to fetch and render a page of show images at a time again as you scroll back down. Terrible.

In my opinion it's half baked. I'll be canceling. If someone can manage comprehensive video media streaming (all TV and movies) for a reasonable price I'd subscribe but as it sits the traditional cable/satellite model is overpriced for an out dated experience and their attempts at streaming skinny bundles seem like they know they need to be present at the table but don't care to do it right. I'll stick with subscribing to apps for the few channels that do things well (HBO and Showtime I'm looking at you) along with Netflix for a fairly broad, generic back catalog and iTunes for the specific TV series and movies I want.

edit: also now that I've been a cord cutter so long and have become accustomed to watching a show uninterrupted commercials are jarring. And no "jump" button to swap between two shows/channels. And the home screen isn't smart enough to focus to shows I've told it I like. And the show listings on each channel are just alphabetical rather than weighting popularity at all (do I really need to scroll through 200 HBO series to get to West World?). and and and...
Score: 4 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago

I liked it too, too bad it was cancelled. It is a shame so many good quality TV shows get cancelled, while so many low budgeted reality shows get renewed.

Read through about every thread along these lines. Most posts have "us" wanting everything we want, often commercial-free, for a fraction of what we pay now. In other words, we seem to want the great, high-quality productions to watch but don't seem to want to pay up for them. There appears to be a mass delusion that breadth & depth & quality can persist while revenues that pay for that is cut on a massive scale. It's likely that something has to give there. If we really want:

* high quality programming, we need to get over the idea that we can have it for a fraction of what we pay now. OR if we really want...
* a huge discount to our monthly bill, we need to learn to love low-budget productions like reality TV and youtube-level programs.

Nobody yet has presented a win:win business model that keeps all of the high quality stuff coming, especially commercial free, AND makes it possible for the source of all of that money that pays for it to get a hair cut of 75%-95%. Instead, there's just a bunch of us that will use ambiguous terms like "reasonable" to rationalize a delusion of keeping quality the same while we pay so much less.

Try that anywhere else though: I'd like a more "reasonable" price for iPhone 8. Instead of $1000, I'd like it to cost me $100 or $50. And I'd like a loaded Macbook Pro. Instead of $3000, I'd like it to cost me $300 or $150. As soon as we read either of those, we likely & immediately realize the ridiculousness of such wants. Yet, with this kind of product, "we" are quick to believe there is room for up to 95% monthly fee cuts but still expect to keep the same quality & volume of favored programming coming to our screens.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago

CBS apparently doesn't have any deals with anyone. Even if you have cable, you still have to pay for all the stuff offered on the app.

I'm not a fan of any CBS shows (I'm not old enough to like NCIS and I just never got into Big Bang Theory) but I believe they're top of the numbers right now so I suppose it's probably in their interest to not make deals. Oh well.

edit: just looked at their show list, I did like limitless but it was on Netflix. Everything else is just blah to me.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
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47 months ago

I understand that rationale, however, is it wrong for people to want high quality entertainment to be unbundled? It worked great for consumers in the age of music downloads no longer having to be constrained into purchasing the entire album. If you want a high-quality Mercedes sedan, must you also buy the Mercedes SUV? Each product should be able to stand on its own and make a profit, and if not should it be allowed to exist?

The MB analogy would work if at one point the sedan and SUV was bundled.

If you do a automobile analogy, it would be better to talk about all the individual parts that make up the Mercedes. You can buy the parts separate if you want to, and customize the car how you want it. Individually the parts would cost more, some parts would be subjectively more desirable, and some could be considered unnecessary. Similarly to how a la carte TV Channels would be.

You can even argue the content within one channel itself should be unbundled.

In many cases they already are in iTunes. You can buy whole series of many different TV shows.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
46 months ago

I understand that rationale, however, is it wrong for people to want high quality entertainment to be unbundled?.

Did I say that? Or anything about that?

If you want a high-quality Mercedes sedan, must you also buy the Mercedes SUV?

Did I say that? Or anything about that?

But I dissent in continuing a shell game where one piece of content subsidizes another.

Did I say that? Or anything about that?

I would argue the same for TV. One should be able to select high-quality sports league on ESPN and not have to also purchase high-quality AMC drama if they choose not. Perhaps one or the other should not exist if they can not sustain producing content. You can even argue the content within one channel itself should be unbundled.

Did I write one word counter to this concept? Not one.

You are making up counterpoint to no point I made.

I also didn't argue that the sky is green or the earth is flat and so on.

Now if you want to make an argument that people expect to receive ALL the high quality content at a fraction of the price, that I can totally agree with your analogy.

That IS the issue I identified and basically faulted... not the other stuff you've brought up.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

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