Verizon's FiOS Streams 'Cheetah Girls'

Taking a page from DirecTV and other providers, Verizon has inked a deal to exclusively premiere a Disney Channel movie on its FiOS offering later this month. The network's original film, "The Cheetah Girls One World," will debut on a VOD stream on FiOS on Aug. 19, three days before the Disney Channel offers it.

Customers of Verizon's telco TV service will be able to view it at no extra charge.

With cable, satellite and telco TV operators now locked in a three-way battle for customers, each is searching for exclusive properties to attract new ones and obtain current subscribers. DirecTV, for example, has a deal to carry NBC's "Friday Night Lights" exclusively this fall. It's a trend that is expected to continue, since it offers programmers a new revenue opportunity as they can collect fees for the content.

Shawn Strickland, vice president of video solutions for Verizon, said "advance showings ... is another reason why FiOS TV" is an attractive service.

Verizon's highest-profile foray has reached into Manhattan, where it now competes with Time Warner Cable. But the two can only compete so far on price or special offers, such as free use of HD DVRs. Content offerings, such as exclusive premieres, will continue to emerge as a differentiation point.



As of July 1, Verizon had 1.4 million FiOS TV customers and continues to expand rapidly.

Cable operators once dismissed FiOS TV as a minimal threat. Now, they acknowledge its potential--and some success--at peeling away customers.

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