Multiscreen represents such an important opportunity for US service provider Verizon that it built its own cloud locker system similar to the UltraViolet project, according its senior programming executive Tricia Lynch, speaking at the OTTtv World Summit this morning (November 7th).
“How high’s the water mama?
With Verizon HQ in New York City currently under feet of water (the Ground Zero site a few streets away is currently having tonnes of water pumped out of it), the laptop on which Ms. Lynch had stored her presentation for the Summit disappeared last week, never to return.
However, the Verizon exec gamely agreed to a “fireside chat” at the OTT event in London this morning, and spoke openly about her relief that Facebook never entered the video distribution business, as some speculated this time last year that it would, and about how vital multiscreen and the new Redbox service is to Verizon.
“It took a lot of salesmanship on our part to convince the studios that multiscreen would be good for them. Having proved ourselves here, they all subsequently got on board.”
Having now joined the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE), developer of the UltraViolet cloud locker platform, Ms. Lynch added that she expects the business rules for multiscreen access to content to relax slightly, and hopes to see content made available to a more generous 12 devices per households.
Making a dent in iTunes
Having seen over-the-top (OTT) video services grow and grow in the US, Verizon started looking into developing its own offering, for which it eventually partnered with DVD rental specialist Redbox.
Ms. Lynch freely admits, “I didn’t think I could make a dent in the iTunes world of transactional movie rental and purchase”, and decided instead to focus on a subscription product, which Verizon is developing in partnership with DVD rental outfit Redbox.
“We discovered that they [Redbox] didn’t have the appetite to spend the money necessary on content, and it has had its trouble with the studios – we discovered that we were a good fit together.”
There remain a number of challengers for the US video market, not least Microsoft, which is busily expanding its Xbox Live service, and which has recently been the subject of rumours that it wishes to purchase dominant force Netflix.
“I find it interesting to watch Netflix contemplate selling their subscription product through cable operators,” said the Verizon exec. “There’s a reason why pay-TV works – its about people’s budgets, how they spend money, perceive value.. Also, you can’t overestimate how lazy people are when lying on their couch with their tablet.