Verizon "Leaning Into" Cord-Cutting "Unequivocally," Exec Says

Ronan Dunne
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Ronan Dunne

Ronan Dunne describes the telecom giant like neutral Switzerland and says it doesn't have "content that another division of my business is creating, which may or may not be very good, which I am trying to barter with Disney or other people."

Telecom giant Verizon has focused on leveraging its wireless and internet user reach in major partnerships with content giants, such as Disney and its Disney+ streaming service, because of the lack of profit margins of the traditional pay TV business, Verizon Consumer CEO Ronan Dunne told the virtual Morgan Stanley European Technology, Media and Telecom Conference on Wednesday.

The company used to be "a sub-scale purchaser of linear content" via its Verizon FiOS pay TV service, which ended September with more than 3.9 million total video subscribers, compared with 94 million wireless and 6 million broadband internet connections, he argued. "We were expending $60 to put together a $60 linear content bundle, so empty calories," the executive said during the session, which was webcast. "As a 100 million consumer buyer, I get better terms. So we are leaning into cord-shaving and cord-cutting unequivocally."

He added: "We are trying to create more choice for our customers, whether they be traditional FiOS customers or whether they be wireless customers."

Dunne said Verizon has an advantage of having a "massive distribution platform ..., and we are also Switzerland," which is known for having neutrality as a core principle of its foreign policy, as it doesn't have "content that another division of my business is creating, which may or may not be very good, which I am trying to barter with Disney or other people." Explained the executive: "I can go out and pick best-in-class partners and act as a distribution agent for them in a way that they see the value of the relationship ... and that creates more choice for my consumers."

Summarized Dunne: "That opportunity for us to be an aggregator and distributor that creates real flexibility, that leans into cord-shaving and cord-cutting, makes my FiOS business more economic." And that means revenue may be "flat to declining," but financial contribution "is going up significantly."