Verizon CEO Defends NFL's Roger Goodell, Targets Online TV Service Launch in 2015

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Lowell McAdam doesn't believe the football league covered up the much-discussed Ray Rice video

Verizon Communications chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said Thursday that the telecom giant was planning to launch an online TV service "probably late in the first half of 2015" and chimed in on the NFL Ray Rice controversy.

Speaking at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference in New York, he provided an update on Verizon's plans after the company acquired Intel OnCue early this year.

Speaking about over-the-top, or broadband, video services in general, McAdam said they are "around the corner" after Sony on Wednesday unveiled a deal with Viacom's networks for its planned service and Dish Network continues to sign up content for its planned service.

With mobile usage growth, he predicted that new platforms wouldn't offer linear TV tied to a TV set. But changing access methods also would mean a move toward a la carte content offers, he said. "Nobody wants to have 300 channels on their wireless device," McAdam said.

He stated that talks with content companies continue, saying the big broadcasters would be offered on the service along with some "customized channels." He highlighted "targeted" digital media content focused on young consumers from the likes of DreamWorks Animation's AwesomenessTV. Addressing content companies' possible fears that the service could undermine traditional pay TV, he said, "We can make it a win-win."

The CEO also addressed the controversy around the NFL's handling of the Ray Rice domestic-abuse incident, saying that Verizon is "probably one of [the league's] top sponsors." He added that the telecom giant has a "strong stance" on domestic violence and has run programs to help victims that include the donation of handsets and service.

"The spitting and the violence is deplorable," McAdam said about the content of the much-discussed surveillance video showing Rice assaulting his then-fiancee. But he defended NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, calling him "a man of very high integrity." Dismissing suggestions that the league and its boss tried to cover up the video, the Verizon boss added: "I will not believe there is some conspiracy to cover this up."

The Baltimore Ravens cut Rice, and the NFL suspended him indefinitely.

Email: Georg.Szalai@THR.com
Twitter: @georgszalai

 

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