Verizon Wireless is tackling
over-the-top video providers with its own mobile video portal app, dubbed
Customers can use the app to view
“thousands” of movies and television shows from Comcast Xfinity, Hulu
Plus, mSpot and Netflix. Content from Verizon’s own FiOS service will be added
soon, the operator said.
“We’re giving our customers a
simple and intuitive way to find shows, movies and other videos from the
sources they have relationships with and discover new sources of video as
well,” Verizon Wireless President and CEO Dan Mead said in a statement.
Some of the content will be free, but
some must be paid for through a subscription, rental or purchase.
The service is expected to launch later
this month and initially will be available only to customers with LTE-capable
Android smartphones, though support for other platforms is in the works. The
app will be available through Google Play and is free to Verizon customers.
Viewdini was unveiled yesterday at the National
Cable & Telecommunications Association’s conference in Boston, the same
event where a group of cable operators announced plans to share access to each
other’s Wi-Fi networks.
Viewdini could help Verizon glean
profits from mobile video services, currently dominated by third -party
providers like YouTube that do not contribute much to operators’ top line
beyond additional data revenue.
The service reflects a broader effort
within the industry to address free over-the-top (OTT) services that threaten
carriers’ business models, such as Skype VoIP calling and no-charge messaging
apps. Ovum released estimates early last month that over-the-top social
messaging apps would cost operators $23 billion in mobile messaging revenue
Brian Higgins, Verizon’s LTE development
director, said in an April interview with Wireless Week that the solution was
not to block the apps, but come up with innovative products customers are
willing to pay for.
“There are certainly plenty of offerings
that are coming in over the top that may compete directly with things that
we’re building internally and we think that’s fine,” Higgins said.
The competition pushes Verizon to
“try to build a superior service offering,” he said. “Our hope
is the best offering wins with consumers.”