Verizon has been investing multi-millions in first window original video deals, as well as syndicated video, from many of the usual suspects in video including AwesomenessTV, Funny or Die, Machinima, Maker Studios, Nerdist, New Form Digital and Whistle Sports, among others. In addition to the dollars spent on content, the company has also been said to invest over $100 million in marketing. They’ve also taken an ownership stake in AwesomenessTV, and have been rumored to have others in the pipeline.
Despite this traction, the company has caught some behind-the-scenes flack for doing deals that were highly inflated, financially — great for the creators — and has been questioned about the audience acquisition.
To tackle these issues is Verizon’s newest hire — Chip Canter — who joins the telco from NBCUniversal, taking the title of GM of Digital Entertainment and go90. According to the company, Canter will oversee all areas of Verizon’s video business, including content and distribution, that does not include Fios. Considering Canter’s NBCUniversal chops, Verizon could be exploring various new business models in the coming months, including subscription, electronic sell-thru (TVOD) and syndication of its own licensed IP. During his time as SVP of product and business development for digital distribution at NBC, Canter was in charge of the digital TV business for the network.
Executives in the industry have also said Verizon is in progress on building a team to work under Canter as well, starting with a head of programming. The hire further demonstrates Verizon’s commitment to the video business, and for the long haul.