Verizon has apparently given up on launching its own streaming TV service that would’ve competed against the likes of Dish’s Sling TV, DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, and PlayStation Vue. The project has been routinely delayed over the last couple years, and spring 2018 was the last target launch time frame floated by Bloomberg. The new change in course was first reported by Multichannel.
Most recently, the company had been planning to offer themed channels (news, sports, entertainment, etc.) — each as a separate, standalone app, according to a January report from TechCrunch. That strategy sounds pretty disjointed compared to the existing field of OTT services, which have at least some resemblance in programming options to traditional cable. But it makes sense when you understand that Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam isn’t a fan of the traditional TV viewing experience. “I’ve said this a couple of times, I think the linear model is dead. It’s just going to take a long time to die,” he said in an interview with Yahoo earlier this week. His Fios team probably hopes that the latter point is true.
So instead of moving ahead with its own product, Verizon is now going to partner with an unspecified existing OTT service and contribute content from its various Oath brands. “By the time we launch in fourth quarter, we will have a partner picked out and we’ll integrate our Oath assets into the linear assets that they have and bring the full package to customers,” he said. “So, we think that’s going to be a big hit from a customer perspective.”
Way back in 2014, Verizon agreed to buy the technology and IP behind an Intel-created over-the-top TV service that never actually launched. Ever since, there have been regular reports of Verizon trying to sign content deals and coming up short. Last August, Bloomberg reported that the company was struggling to wrangle together content for its planned service amid executive turnover and internal disagreements over the broader plan for the streaming TV platform.