Verizon is planning big things for 2014 and it has made its intention clear by acquiring Intel Media - Intel's over-the-top broadband TV division - for an undisclosed sum.
The deal will enable Verizon to use the Intel Media technology to deliver video over its FIOS fibre-optic home broadband service as well as its 4G wireless network service.
Under the agreement, Verizon will own the intellectual property rights of Intel's TV platform and will offer jobs to 350 employees that are currently working for the Intel Media division based in Santa Clara, California.
Intel Media has been working for two years to build hardware and software that would allow users to watch live TV, recently aired content and on-demand programs. Previously, Intel had vowed that the subscription service called "OnCue" would be launched by the end of 2013, delivering contents over a broadband connection known as "over the top." However, the service could not make its scheduled launch as the new CEO, Brian Krzanich who took over the post in May, decided to refocus on the company's core chip business.
Verizon, with the help of OnCue's platform, would be able to offer a Web-based TV service much faster than compared to starting from a scratch on its own.
"The OnCue platform and team will help Verizon bring next-generation video services to audiences who increasingly expect to view content when, where, and how they want it," said Verizon Chairman and Chief Executive Lowell McAdam in a statement. "Verizon already has extensive video content relationships, fixed and wireless delivery networks, and customer relationships in both the home and on mobile. This transaction provides us with the capabilities to build a powerful, capitally efficient engine for future growth and innovation."
By acquiring Intel Media, Verizon stands a good chance to compete with Comcast - the largest cable company and home Internet service provider in the United States. Comcast, which also has the largest R&D team in the industry, and Verizon had earlier partnered in developing a top secret product called Nuon that would give users an alternative to online video offerings by tying broadband, pay TV and mobile. However, in August last year Verizon pulled out of the partnership, killing Nuon. Since then the company has been expanding its horizon through various deals and acquisitions. In one of the biggest deals, the company last year paid Vodafone $130 billion for acquiring the 45 percent stake in Verizon Wireless by Vodafone.
Though the terms of Intel Media deal were not disclosed, media reports are pegging the price between $200 million and $500 million. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.