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Verizon's Video Service Is Coming This Summer, and Will Feature Stuff From DreamWorks and AwesomenessTV

We don't know how much it will cost. We do know it's going to join a suddenly crowded field.
Peter Kafka covers media and technology, and their intersection, at Vox. Many of his stories can be found in his Kafka on Media newsletter, and he also hosts the Recode Media podcast.

Here comes yet another competitor in the “over the top” video arena: Verizon is getting ready to launch its own service in a few months, with help from the people who brought us “Shrek.”

The telco has been talking openly about its plans to provide its own bundle of video programming for some time, but hasn’t been specific about what it will be, how much it will cost or when it will launch.

Now it is starting to fill in some of those holes: Yesterday, CFO Fran Shammo told an investor conference the service would launch this summer, aimed at people who would want to consume via wireless connections — presumably on phones and tablets.

And today Verizon announced a programming deal with DreamWorks Animation’s AwesomenessTV unit. Verizon said Awesomeness will provide more than 200 hours of new shows for the service, broken up into two channels: An AwesomenessTV channel aimed at teens and millennials, and a DreamWorksTV channel for families, which will include “live action and animated short-form content as well as some of DreamWorks Animation’s most recognizable characters.”

That’s the first time Verizon has talked about what they’ll have to show subscribers. Verizon executives have previously said they are talking to traditional TV programmers for the service, so it’s unclear whether they intend to keep headed in that direction, or if they’re going to pick up other programming that doesn’t come from TV-land.

And Verizon still has yet to announce how much it’s going to charge for any of this. Nor has it said whether it’s going to position this as a value-add for existing Verizon customers, or market it aggressively outside of its subscriber “footprint,” the way Dish Network is doing with its Sling TV service.

Whatever Verizon is planning, it will be joining a field of digital video services that is starting to attract many new entrants. Dish launched Sling a little more than a month ago. Next month HBO will launch HBO Now, its standalone subscription service, and CBS CEO Les Moonves says his Showtime pay-TV network will launch something similar soon. Sony plans to roll out a pay-TV service in a few U.S. cities this month, and will go nationwide later this year. And Verizon competitor AT&T is cobbling together its own set of video services via its Otter Media joint venture with The Chernin Group.

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