OnDemand Summit: Verizon's Denson -- OTT Providers Owe Market Position to Multichannel Business

VP of global strategy recalls VOD's roots, aims for full mobility of on demand content
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New York -- Over-the-top video providers may be increasing the competition in the on demand landscape, but companies like Netflix owe their current market position to the cable industry.

That was according to Terry Denson, VP of global strategy at Verizon Communications, during in a keynote discussion with Multichannel News' Technology Editor Todd Spangler, during B&C/Multichannel News' fourth annual On Demand Summit Wednesday afternoon.

"I look at on demand as really having been founded or whatever you want to call it in the multichannel business," Denson said. "The reason they have a meaningful on demand position is because what we did among the content providers and distributors who invested in the platform, we accelerated andfacilitated consumer behavior so that when it was time for a Netflix for instance to make a decision about whether they want to go streaming or not,streaming makes sense because the behavior for customer consumption is now so strongly to on demand."

As for the threat of over-the-top competition on the VOD business, Denson actually sees it as a good thing for Verizon and others.

"We think its part of the rising tide, we're just one big ship that gets lifted," he said.

To remain competitive, Denson said Verizon has two customer-focused priorities: 1) That all content should be available in an on demand format, and 2) that there ought to be mobility associated with that on demand.

Denson acknowledged that those goals were aspirational in some sense because content like live news and sports is not suited for an on demand platform. But in terms of mobility, Verizon is striving for a continuous viewing consumption experience, so that viewers who begin watching an on-demand movie at home can pick up where they left off on their tablet.

Of course when it comes to applying that model to other types of distributed content, there are hurdles because of differences in opinion on the business model of TV Everywhere among rights holders, Densonsaid.

As for how to work through those content relationships? "Good, healthy conversation," Denson said tongue-in-cheek, to some laughs in the room.

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