Telephone and cable companies have found a simple marketing weapon: local-television news, traffic alerts and weather. Verizon Communications plans to launch its own local TV channel in New
York City this summer, as a response to the round-the-clock local news channels of rivals Cablevision and Time Warner Cable.
A version of the local Verizon channel is already available in Maryland and Northern Virginia and it ranks in the top 20% by viewers among 350 channels. Verizon's FiOS1 channel features regular traffic and weather updates, as well as original news content shot by citizen journalists.
Verizon is considering rolling out the channel in other markets as well, but hasn't yet produced a professional newscast or hired local reporters as Time Warner and Cablevision have done.