It's 2019 and cable TV is still losing out to over-the-top services. Verizon is one of the victims in the race with its Fios TV business bleeding subscribers while the likes of YouTube TV are picking them right up. It may sound odd, then, to hear that Verizon and Google are partnering to resell YouTube TV to more Verizon internet customers — but it may less be about cannibalization and more about widening its audience capture.
The details of the deal itself are fairly vague: Verizon will begin to sell YouTube TV packages to its wireless, fixed 5G, and broadband customers and promote content shown on the service across its platforms.
A Verizon spokesperson told us:
No pricing details to share today but [...] we’ll be offering promotions that are more valuable than what’s available today through signing up direct.
It's a partnership that comes at a crucial time for Verizon, which lost 168,000 TV subscribers last year and another 53,000 in the first quarter. However, its wireline and wireless broadband customer bases are still growing, so it may be able to recover some of its lost bundling revenue with YouTube TV sales commissions. At the same time, Verizon can start to focus more on content — mainly through its Yahoo brand along with other Oath properties — as it fulfills production and carriage deals with the NFL and NBA.
Meanwhile, YouTube TV and its more than 1 million subscribers have just gone through its second price increase in the service's two-year existence, so any break that these prospective customers might get will be appreciated. That said, unlike with bundles from traditional pay TV providers, those customers can quit the service freely, so we'll have to see what Verizon and YouTube can muster to retain their new cache.