Two months ago, Comcast announced a limited beta trial of an online TV service involving networks of Time Warner’s Turner Broadcasting division, where Comcast subscribers may be treated to earliest availability of post-airdate programming from networks including TBS and TNT. This morning, Verizon announced the launch of an almost identical trial, involving exactly the same networks, in a deal that makes one wonder whether it’s Turner that’s in the driver’s seat here.
As part of Turner’s “TV Everywhere” initiative, select FiOS fiberoptic service subscribers will be offered first crack (perhaps at the same time as Comcast customers) at online availability of shows like Raising the Bar, Saving Grace, and The Closer. Rather than seeing those shows first through online portals such as TNT.tv, logged on users to Verizon Online will receive invitations to join the carrier’s limited trial.
One problem which Verizon will inevitably run into during this trial is the fact that FiOS service is not available everyplace nationwide, sometimes for any number of bizarre reasons often involving small municipalities and contract negotiations. Since this FiOS TV Online initiative will theoretically be accessible by FiOS customers anywhere in the world, Betanews asked Verizon today, once the online service fills out as Verizon is planning (deals with Paramount, MGM, and Lionsgate are in the works, the company says), why couldn’t a non-FiOS customer pay to subscribe, at least to the online service?
A Verizon spokesperson did not rule out that possibility, responding to Betanews this afternoon. “Right now, the service is available to FiOS TV customers who are also Verizon broadband customers,” the spokesperson told us. “As we progress with the trial, we’ll be looking at a number of things to determine how to make this the best possible experience for our customers.”