Few companies in the world have a more interesting relationship than that between Netflix and Verizon. Are these two cozying up, or on the brink of all out war?
Netflix is among the causes of lost subscribers in Verizon’s pay TV business.
Verizon backs Netflix competitor Redbox Instant. (Meaning they’re supporting another service that competes with their own pay TV business)
Netflix publicly blames Verizon’s network for poor streaming performance to Verizon customers.
Netflix becomes a major proponent of Net Neutrality. (which as an ISP, it is in Verizon’s business interests to oppose)
Verizon fires back at Netflix’s criticism with legal threats, and eventually forces them to pay interconnection fees for reliable delivery of their content. (Verizon has since jumped to the top of Netflix’s ISP speed rankings)
Verizon and Redbox pull the plug on Redbox Instant. (A service which never held a candle to Netflix’s offering)
Verizon begins offering a free year of Netflix to new subscribers in some areas. (Yes, giving away a service that is cannibalizing their own)
Verizon is also working on a web-based TV service, rumored to offer channels à la carte. (A new service that could compete with both Netflix and Verizon’s own pay-TV offering)
Strange as it may be, I think the relationship between Netflix and Verizon is actually a pretty good representation of the relationship between incumbent pay TV providers (who also double as ISPs) and OTT services. Should the cable companies see OTT services as a threat? Or rather as a potential gimmick to use to keep subscribers? Should the OTT providers fear the cable companies meddling with their content. Where do the networks fall in all of this, as the once staunch allies of the cable companies are now launching OTT services of their own? The current state of the TV industry is basically everybody still figuring out what to do, and more specifically how to approach new players and changing business conditions.
With so much at stake, these companies can’t afford to waste any time. Like them or not, OTT players are here to stay. Meanwhile the incumbent pay-TV operators aren’t going to go away overnight. And even if they lose their last video subscribers, they will likely remain as the pipes through which next generation television content reaches consumers. As more and more networks join the OTT party, both their cable partners and current OTT leaders like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu will have to adjust. So if you think Netflix and Verizon make an odd couple, I would expect to see more of these frenemy relationships emerge as the TV landscape continues to get more complicated.
But where other companies see confusion, FreeCast Inc sees opportunity. We’re an aggregator, not a content broker. We don’t own the content that makes up the Rabbit TV Plus library, nor do we control how it is delivered to consumers. That’s a great advantage, because it means that we don’t get caught up in these complicated relationships that could negatively impact our business. We only have to focus on our product and our customers, remaining a neutral party amid other companies’ constantly shifting alliances and quarrels.