Does Verizon have the rights stuff?

As Janko details over at GigaOM, Verizon over the past year has been putting in place the pieces for a fully integrated, backbone-to-last-mile, wireline and wireless video service, from the buyout of Vodafone’s interest in Verizon Wireless to the acquisitions of upLynk and EdgeCast, and now, of course, the assets of Intel Media. I would also add its settling of patent-infringement litigation with TiVo and ActiveVideo Networks in late 2012, which cleared out some legal underbrush and resulted in cross-licensing deals that give Verizon access to some important DVR and cloud-TV IP (through a spokesman, ActiveVideo declined to comment on whether anything in Intel’s OnCue cloud-TV platform might implicate those patents).

According to the press release on the Intel Media deal, “Verizon expects to integrate IP-based TV services with FiOS video to further differentiate FiOS from traditional cable TV offerings and to reduce ongoing deployment costs. FiOS customers are also expected to benefit from elegant search and discovery, interactivity and cross-screen ease of use – integrated with the Verizon Wireless 4G LTE network.”

That’s a lot of different use-cases, potentially involving a lot of different content-rights silos, which most rights owners have been reluctant to bundle together for a single licensee, at least up to now.

In a statement, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said, “Verizon already has extensive video content relationships, fixed and wireless delivery networks, and customer relationships in both the home and on mobile. This transaction provides us with the capabilities to build a powerful, capitally efficient engine for future growth and innovation. We will have the opportunity to enhance, expand, accelerate and integrate our delivery of video products and services to better serve audiences on a wide array of devices.”

Better serving that audience isn’t just a matter of technology and capital efficiency, however, it’s also about the content. We’ll have to wait and see how easy, or not, content owners make things for Verizon once it starts taking things outside its current FiOS TV footprint and outside the home.

 

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Paul Sweeting

Principal Concurrent Media Strategies

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