For all the talk of cord-cutting, the cable/satellite/fiber optic TV companies are not going anywhere anytime soon. I put Verizon FIOS in that camp. With 3.7 million subscribers, it is already one of the largest video service providers in the country. But it is pushing hard to get on all screens and keep Netflix, Hulu, and Apple TV at bay.
Or is it? Verizon FIOS also provides broadband Internet and home phone services. (I am a Verizon FIOS subscriber myself and get all three—Internet, TV, and phone). Last time I checked, Netflix streams over the Internet. I recently got a chance to ask Eric Bruno, the senior VP in charge of Verizon FIOS, about its relationship with the Internet video alternatives, his mobile product plans, and Verizon’s new home automation product in these two video segments.
In the video above, Bruno gives me some stats on how many people use Verizon FIOS, its rollout strategy (it is focusing on penetrating the homes it’s already passed for right now), and how many customers buy the triple play like me (90 percent—yup, bundling works). He also talks (below) about the new Home Control product Verizon FIOS customers will be able to add to control thermostats, lighting and even set up Web cams over a wireless network.
I give Bruno a little grief about the UI of FIOS Mobile Remote app (which we reviewed on Fly or Die), and he tells me that app (which is a program guide along with a WiFi linked software remote) will eventually be combined with Verizon’s Flex View app (which allows for on-demand rentals or purchases of movies). You can also expect more TV shows in Flex View, and eventually TV channels participating in the TV Everywhere project will be viewable right on your iPad (which is already the case with Comcast’s Xfinity app).
All of this sort of suggests that Verizon FIOS will compete directly with Netflix for streaming shows and digital downloads to any screen. But I want my Netflix on my big-screen TV and Verizon could make that easy by simply letting Netflix create a widget for FIOS viewers. Then I wouldn’t need to pull out the HDMI cable and string it to my laptop every time I want to stream on the big screen.
Would Verizon ever allow Netflix prime real estate on its service? “The answer is definitely not no,” Bruno hedges in the video below. “People are going there anyway. If they are going there anyway I would rather have them go to Verizon.”
Hear that Reed Hastings? Give Bruno a call. “If Reed picked up the phone, we’d definitely talk about it. Same offer to Google.” A Youtube widget or channel would be sweet. Leanback, baby.
You can watch the entire unedited interview here.