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AT&T wants to power the next big video streaming service

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AT&T has a new way to take on TV-threatening internet video services like Netflix: it's going to offer a few services of its own. The telecom is teaming up with the Chernin Group -- previously a bidder in the Hulu sweepstakes -- to start a venture that will "acquire, invest in and launch" both online video platforms and on-demand TV channels. While the two companies aren't saying much about their plans, they're already willing to pledge over $500 million to the project and fund providers whether they're ad-supported or subscription-based.

The motives are fairly transparent -- the two firms see a chance to profit from viewers' demand for video "how and when they want it." They may have the skills to compete, too. AT&T is counting on its experiences with both networking and TV to give it an edge, while the Chernin Group touts its control of the anime-focused Crunchyroll video service as an advantage. It's too soon to know whether these credentials are enough to give existing streaming offerings a run for their money, but the move should at least give AT&T a direct answer to Verizon's Redbox partnership.

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