Verizon delays its live TV service until spring 2018, report says

Sarah Perez
At CES, the big consumer electronics show underway this week in Las Vegas (when the lights are working), TechCrunch has learned that Verizon is working away on a couple of new services that will see the carrier once again trying to grow its business beyond basic broadband and mobile connectivity, as it gears up to compete with the likes of Amazon and other tech companies, as well as other OTT players like Hulu and Netflix, and stave off the threat of becoming a "dumb pipe."

Verizon's* plans to launch a streaming service of its own to compete with the likes of Dish's Sling TV, AT&T's DirecTV Now, Sony's PlayStation Vue, and others, have been pushed back to spring 2018, according to a report from Bloomberg on Wednesday. Citing unnamed sources, the report indicates the timing of the launch is still tentative and could be postponed further due to ongoing negotiations for streaming rights, staffing changes, and technology reboots.

*Disclosure: TechCrunch parent Oath (AOL/Yahoo) is owned by Verizon.

The service has already been pushed back at least twice, but that doesn't necessarily indicate Verizon is less interested in competing in this business than others. As the report noted, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said last month that it was still "absolutely critical" for Verizon to introduce its own platform, despite the "crowded field" that's web-based TV.

In addition to Sling TV, and the offerings from Sony and AT&T, Hulu also recently entered the market with a live TV add-on to its on-demand service, and YouTube introduced YouTube TV.

So far, Verizon's attempts in the streaming market have not been stellar. The company's over-the-top mobile alternative to YouTube, called go90, largely failed to attract an audience despite Verizon's investment in AwesomenessTV to bring exclusive, millennially-focused videos into the app. This year, go90 laid off 155 employees, replacing them with new employees brought in from Vessel, a digital video service Verizon acquired last fall.

In addition to the go90 staffing changes, Verizon also announced earlier this month that its media chief Marni Walden would be leaving the company in February 2018.

According to Bloomberg, Verizon has shared its plans with TV networks about its internet TV service, but has not finalized the agreements it needs to have in place with media companies.

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