Verizon’s Walden: Our TV streaming service will be different

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Verizon's vMVPD will compete directly with veterans in the space like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.

Verizon has already confirmed it will launch a streaming TV service later year, but the company is hoping to offer something different than what’s already out there.

Speaking at Guggenheim Media Day, Marni Walden, executive vice president and president of media and telematics, confirmed what Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said weeks ago about the service launching after the AOL and Yahoo integration was under way. Verizon is expecting to close its deal for Yahoo this month and, as a result, reportedly cut as much as 15% of its workforce to avoid redundancies across the two companies.

But those remaining within the newly combined AOL and Yahoo—a new company dubbed Oath—will play a major role in Verizon’s plan for a virtual MVPD service. In terms of programming for that new service, Walden said Verizon is still working on that but that just having a bunch of content is not necessarily a winning strategy.

“Originals are important and sports are really important. But we don’t want to do just a ‘me too’ thing out there. You’re going to see us do things in a different way. It’s definitely not about quantity though. There are some things you have to have but we’re not looking for the kitchen sink on this one,” Walden said.

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When Verizon does launch its vMVPD, it will be competing directly with veterans in the space like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue, as well as more recent arrivals like DirecTV Now, YouTube TV, Hulu’s live TV and FuboTV.

Broadcast networks, sports and news have generally played heavily in the programming for those vMVPDs. But some of the traditional core cable programmers like Viacom and Discovery have not made it into these services, which are generally priced around $35 to $40, although Sling TV starts as low as $20 and Vue jumps as high as $65, and various add-ons can drive up prices quickly.

Walden wouldn’t confirm a release time frame or pricing for Verizon’s vMVPD service. But she did discuss the company’s evolving approach to content.

Walden said that about three years ago, Verizon’s relationship with content essentially consisted of licensing it for the company’s Fios pay-TV platform. She said that now Verizon has assets that can take content broadly across where customers are accessing it, including Fios, mobile, Oath, Go90 and other platforms.