Verizon plans to take on Netflix

Posted by Mike Luttrell

In an environment where Netflix is still reeling from customer dissatisfaction and facing a new round of competition, Verizon has decided it's time to step in.

The communications giant is planning on launching a new video streaming service that would be a direct competitor to Netflix and traditional cable companies, according to an exclusive Reuters report.

The publication cited "several people briefed on the plan" as saying the new service would be offered next year, and will be targeted only to markets where Verizon's existing TV service, Fios, is not available.

Apparently Verizon has no intention of competing with itself, so in Fios-installed markets, the company will continue to promote the cable-like service, but in other markets it will try to tell consumers that cable is unnecessary.

Of course, just like any other player in the streaming video space right now, Verizon's ability to secure content is going to be limited. Reuters said it is talking with Disney, Viacom, and other major players in the entertainment biz, but it's unclear how many it will be able to agree to a Web-based TV platform.

This news comes as Netflix continues to face backlash after it raised prices and created immense confusion about the future of its DVD-by-mail service. It also comes with a backdrop of other companies trying to emerge in the Netflix-dominated market, including Microsoft's new Xbox 360 firmware and Amazon's digital video platform which has been augmented by the launch of the Kindle Fire.

Exactly what Verizon can bring to the table remains to be seen, but there is clearly room for competition.