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Report: Verizon to Challenge Netflix with Streamed Content

December 6, 2011

Verizon Communications reportedly plans to offer a package of streamed movies and TV shows that it will make available to those outside its subscriber base, in what could be seen as a challenge to Netflix.

Verizon could roll the service out in 2012, Reuters reported, citing sources close to the company's plans.

A Verizon representative declined to comment on rumors and speculation.

Verizon offers fibre-to-the-home Internet and TV services, but the company so far acts as just another cable company or satellite provider, providing packages of content that it buys from studios and distributors. According to Reuters, Verizon's role as a middleman wouldn't change. However, it would take that content and provide it to external customers.

Verizon may have tipped its streaming direction by recently rolling out a FiOS app for Xbox Live. The offering will allow subscribers to watch live TV and on-demand video via the Xbox 360, starting this holiday season. However, it is only available to existing Verizon subscribers.

Verizon FiOS customers can also tap into FiOS TV Online, which offers pre-recorded video for playback on a computer. Comcast also provides a service called Xfinity, which also offers prerecorded video for viewing on computers and selected mobile devices. Again, however, both services require an existing subscription.

In October, Verizon reported that it had 4 million FiOS TV customers and 4.6 million broadband customers, most of which likely shared bundled TV services as well. However, Verizon already serves 16.27 million premises in its 12-state wireline service territory, representatives said via email, mostly on the East Coast, in October. But Verizon also began indicating in 2010 that it was going to focus its FiOS investments on the markets it alrady serves, last year.




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