Verizon signs Scripps deal for upcoming mobile video service

Verizon (NYSE: VZ) signed a multi-year program licensing deal with Scripps Networks Interactive, making 45 Scripps TV series available to Verizon wireless customers when Verizon launches its anticipated mobile video service later this year.

According to Verizon, 45 lifestyle series, including HGTV's House Hunters, Food Network's Cutthroat Kitchen and Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods, will be available for streaming on the new service.

What remains unclear: Whether Verizon will distribute these shows under their distinct network brands, or offer them as individual offerings, as Netflix does with its thumbnail-based programming grid.

For Verizon, the Scripps deal follows earlier-announced content agreements with Awesomeness TV. The wireless giant has also secured sports content for its new venture through ESPN, CBS Sports, 120 Sports, ACC Digital Network and Campus Insiders.

Live-streamed NFL games--part of Verizon's exclusive contract with the premiere pro sports league--will also be part of the mix. As will a business model partly underpinned by programmatic advertising, with Verizon just closing its $4.4 billion purchase of AOL, the leader in the programmatic field. 

In touting its latest deal, Verizon referenced data culled recently by NScreenMedia, which noted that OTT consumption by young adults 18-24 increased by 21 percent in 2014. Further, smartphone video viewing among young adults was up 10 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureau.

"As mobile consumption continues to increase, it's important that we provide audiences with the opportunity to enjoy the series and videos they love across the fullest possible range of devices," said Henry Ahn, executive VP of content distribution for Scripps Networks Interactive. "Great content will always connect with audiences, and this agreement with Verizon provides new and existing viewers with another way to engage with our powerful lifestyle brands."

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