Verizon Communications CEO Ivan Seidenberg said Hulu is a six month wonder and that technology will ultimately bypass the current fascination with the online video service. "When you think of the change, look at Hulu and the dialogue and debate, and you say, O.K. this is in for the next eight to twelve months and in two years it won't matter because the world will have moved on."
Speaking at the Paley Center as part of an event hosted by CNBC's David Faber, Seidenberg referenced a project called Sixth Sense which links a mini-projector with a cellphone and allows consumers to watch TV on any surface as an example of how fast technology changes the game.
When asked about the evolution of the TV business - Verizon operates relatively new entrant FiosTV - Seidenberg said he had no problem paying retransmission fees because it is, "The cost of entry and we have to absorb it. You don't enter an industry and not play by the rules." However long term, the Verizon chief said it was an avoidable cost. "It's all transitional, all the games the media guys play."
On the same panel, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman outlined ways in which Viacom would grow. He suggested the company isn't anywhere near done with international expansion, even though MTV is very well distributed around the globe. He suggested other Viacom concepts had potential to be more widely distributed and that other overseas entities may well travel to the U.S. While he didn't name any, Comedy Central and Spike have little overseas presence. "Games is a big area of growth and we'll see significant increases in download to own online and in mobile. There'll be an evolution and more revenue coming from the non-advertising sources," he concluded.
When both executives were asked about the imminent Comcast Corp. acquisition of NBC Universal, Seidenberg said Verizon was hopeful the new entity would treat rivals fairly. "The only issue is do they treat us fairly and consistently. I assume our lawyers will work that out," he said.
Dauman added: "I've never seen a transaction of this size conducted with so much leakage." He said he reserved judgment until he saw the finalized terms
of the deal which is expected to close next week.