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Verizon eyes 2015 launch for internet TV service, chats à la carte options

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If you've been champing at the bit to hear more about Verizon's upcoming television offerings, CEO Lowell McAdam has spilled a few more details. During remarks at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York, the chief executive said that the launch of the wireless company's online TV service would arrive "probably late in the first half of 2015." What's more, McAdam also explained that the days of bundled channels could soon be over, saying "nobody wants to have 300 channels on their wireless device." This could lead to a transition towards a more à la carte line-up including "customized channels" that target specific groups of viewers -- much like DreamWorks Animation's AwesomenessTV.

If you'll recall, Big Red snatched up Intel's unsuccessful OnCue internet TV service back in January, and existing relationships with both broadcasters and customers could help it do what the previous owner couldn't. There should be other options too, as Sony's prepping a similar offering of its own -- announcing a deal with Viacom (Comedy Central, etc.) to bring 22 channels aboard just yesterday. Of course, content providers might have hesitations about the concept of a dozen user-selected channels, rather than subscriptions that force customers to buy a truckload of content they don't even watch. In regards to that, McAdam noted "over the last six months to a year, that dialogue changed dramatically."

Quoted from SeekingAlpha.com:

Lowell McAdam - Chairman and CEO


...So if you look at it over-the-top, I think you could end up with a bundle that will have a major broadcast content providers. And we would use our network around multicast to handle that very efficiently. And then you'd have a lot of these sort of custom channels that people can do the video demand, the IPTV much more interactive that you could have on these individual channels. And those would be the unicast offering that we have and we could handle that efficiently as well.

So that whole ecosystem, Brett, as I think is coming together. It's been prime for a while but as I say on the last six months to a year, the dialog is changing dramatically.

Brett Feldman - Goldman Sachs

And just to be clear, it sounds what you describing here would be an over-the-top service provided by Verizon Wireless as oppose to say taking files and simply putting it on mobile network. This would be a new service?

Lowell McAdam - Chairman and CEO

Yeah, I think it has to be. I mean, no one wants to have 300 channels on your wireless device. And I think everyone understands. It will go to À la carte. The question is what is that transition look like and as I said, we're dedicated to making this a win-win for the mobile carriers as well as the content providers.

We understand there needs to be some smooth transition here. But I don't think there is any one that would stand up here and say the only way its going to be offered five years from now is linear and it's going to be tied to your TV set because frankly they will miss the market and they will be the ones left behind.

Brett Feldman - Goldman Sachs

And just the last question on this since you noted you have so many pieces in place. What do you think would be a rough timeline for maybe putting something of that into the market?

Lowell McAdam - Chairman and CEO

Well, we bought the Intel OnCue asset and we have all the other pieces together. We are very focused on probably late first half of 2015 having products like these in the market place.