Verizon CEO Touts Disney+, Discovery+ Partnerships, Sees “a Lot of New Things We Can Add”

Verizon CEO Touts Disney+, Discovery+ Partnerships, Sees “a Lot of New Things We Can Add”

BY GEORG SZALAI | HollywoodReporter.Com

Troy Warren for CNT #Business #Entertainment

Hans Vestberg also touts continuing FiOS broadband momentum during a Goldman Sachs conference.

Telecom giant Verizon sees room to add more content partnerships along the lines of its Disney+ and Discovery+ deals, chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg said on Tuesday.

“We see many more direct-to-consumer offerings,” he told the virtual Goldman Sachs Communacopia Conference, pointing to the company’s offerings under deals with the likes of streaming services Disney+ and Discovery+. That is also “a revenue source for us and a profit source for us,” he emphasized, describing the deals as win-win situations.

“We still have a lot of new things we can add to it,” the Verizon CEO added, citing an expansion so far into various areas, from video content to music and gaming, due to consumer demand. “There might be more areas,” he concluded without providing details.

The telecom giant has been shifting its video focus away from FiOS TV to partnerships with third-party streaming services to position itself as a key distribution platform for them via broadband and mobile. For example, Verizon’s deal with Walt Disney for the Disney bundle gives customers with select Verizon unlimited plans access to Disney streaming services Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

This summer, Verizon reported that it lost 62,000 net pay TV subscribers for its FiOS consumer video service in the second quarter, compared with a loss of 81,000 in the year-ago period and a loss of 82,000 in the first quarter. The company has in the past often cited “the ongoing shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings” as a key driver of video subscriber declines.

Verizon highlighted at the time that its trailing 12-month total FiOS broadband user net addition performance is the highest since 2015. Vestberg said on Tuesday that the last three quarters have “probably been the three best quarters we ever had on FiOS, and that momentum continues into this quarter as well.”

He also predicted lasting changes to consumer behavior due to the coronavirus pandemic. “We will never go back to what was before the pandemic, especially when it comes to digitalization,” he said. “We are going to have many more people working from home, partly or full-time” and needing good broadband services.

In May, Verizon struck a $5 billion deal to sell Verizon Media, which includes Yahoo and AOL, to private equity firm Apollo Global Management, which recently closed. Verizon is retaining a 10 percent stake in the new company, called Yahoo.

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By Troy Warren

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