T-Mobile’s imminent plans to launch a pay TV service in 2018 likely won’t include buying or producing any original content.
On a press call today discussing the launch, which is being facilitated by T-Mobile’s acquisition of TV provider Layer3 TV, COO Mike Sievert said T-Mobile “probably” won’t look to offer its own original content.
“The problem out there today is not that there isn’t great content and somebody new needs to come and fund content,” said Sievert. “There’s so much content out there that the bigger issues are access and discovery.”
Sievert said specifically that T-Mobile wants to allow customers to access the same pay TV service they get in the house on mobile, and that the company wants to update user interfaces to facilitate more relevant discovery and suggested content. But Sievert didn’t entirely close the door on the idea of T-Mobile originals.
“Would we rule out getting involved in content? No, but I wouldn’t say it’s the beginning of our strategy. We’re going to solve those other big issues of access, discovery and service first,” Sievert said.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that quite a few companies are already making significant investments in content specifically geared for the mobile user.
“We’re being approached by them as they try to figure out how to get their content to what we have, which are customers,” said Legere. “We’re interested in relationships but not the type that the industry is used to hearing about every day, with people trying to grab and own and control and build boundaries. This offer will not be hinged upon us needing to go buy content.”
Complete T-Mobile/Layer3 coverage:
T-Mobile to acquire Layer3 TV, launch 'disruptive' video service next year
T-Mobile not planning on buying original content for its pay-TV service
Editor's Corner—TV is now clearly the wireless industry’s new battleground
Editor's Corner—T-Mobile’s Legere declares disruption for ‘arrogant’ pay-TV biz … that’s already plenty disrupted
T-Mobile’s comments about content ownership arrive amid a backdrop in which AT&T, which owns huge satellite provider DirecTV and virtual MVPD DirecTV Now, is fighting to complete its acquisition of Time Warner, which owns Warner Bros., HBO and Turner, home to channels including CNN, TBS and TNT.
Comcast, another major pay TV provider that T-Mobile’s service would compete with, owns NBCUniversal.
As opposed to that model of owning both the content and distribution, Layer3 TV CEO Jeff Binder said that Layer3 TV stands out due to its love for and positive relationships with programmers.
“We think that there’s an opportunity to go from this adversarial model, which existed for a long time between cable and programming, and work with our programming partners to bring their content everywhere. That’s what they want,” Binder said.
T-Mobile said that the TV service it’s building with Layer3 will be an all-IP delivery system and will heavily incorporate mobile network access.