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Verizon Executive: New OTT service to feature quality over quantity

When Verizon Communications Inc. enters the burgeoning virtual multichannel video programming distributor space, it will evidently present a differentiated product offering, steeped in a less-is-more approach.

Verizon Executive Vice President and President of Media and Telematics Marni Walden, speaking at a June 8 investor conference, said: "I don’t want to do just a me-too kind of thing. That’s not where we’re going to win."

Although short on specifics, Walden did provide a frame of sorts: "It’s definitely not quantity. It’s the right quality. There are some things you have to have, but we’re not looking for the kitchen sink on this one."

Walden suggested the service would be informed by lessons learned from go90, Verizon's retooled, ad-supported mobile streaming service that is now aimed at even younger Generation Z viewers.

"I think you can't have too limited, but too much is a problem. It's going to be the right content," she said. “Now what we know, originals are important. That's been helping drive audience. Sports, really important. This content that's surrounding those things has been critical."

Walden's remarks build on comments made by Verizon Chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam at another industry conference last month. McAdam said the company plans to test an over-the-top video service reflective of five content pillars — news, sports, finance, entertainment and lifestyle — following the integration of Yahoo! Inc. with AOL Inc. under a newly formed division called Oath. Verizon’s purchase of the operating business of Yahoo! is expected to close June 13.

Neither executive discussed a launch date, although Walden said, "It’s not way, way out in the distant future."

Bloomberg News, citing people familiar with the matter, reported in late March that Verizon has been acquiring streaming rights from TV networks and plans to launch a live streaming service this summer.

Should Verizon proceed, it would enter a live channel OTT arena that includes Sling TV from DISH Network Corp. and DIRECTV Now from AT&T Inc., as well as new offerings from Hulu LLC and Google Inc.'s YouTube Inc.