Erik Huggers, the former president of Intel Media and a member of Intel’s Management Committee, is leaving Verizon, following the telco’s acquisition of Intel Media in January. Verizon said at the time of the purchase that it plans to use the Intel unit to launch next-gen IP video services that are integrated with its LTE network. However, it appears as if Verizon is now moving away from that OTT strategy.
Speaking at a JP Morgan investor conference last week, CEO Lowell McAdam said the Intel unit was built originally to create a linear TV offering as a pure OTT play. “Now, we don’t think that model is particularly attractive because of the overall content cost,” he said. What’s Verizon’s new plan with OTT cloud initiative OnCue then? A service focused on consumer choice, according to McAdam. “If you look at the video jukebox sort of services, the Hulus, the Netflix’s, Kindle Fires, and you create something like that that a customer can pull down from the cloud what they want, when they want it…and you have a much broader array of content…I think that’s a very attractive model for us,” he said.
The telco would also potentially stream certain live programming, such as sports, to mobile devices using multicasting technology, which the company demonstrated during this year’s Super Bowl. “We are not in the mode of having 80 channels bundled running over OnCue for Verizon…But we are in the mode of having an over-the-top play that customers can pull down what they want when they want it,” McAdam said.
Does Huggers’ departure also reflect the shift in strategy for OnCue? According to a Verizon spokesman, “we obtained a strong combination of technological and personnel assets from Intel Media,” he said. “We intend to strategically utilize the OnCue technology and talent to grow our business. That has not changed.” Intel initially created its streaming unit to develop an OTT service that offers live streaming of linear content but the company reportedly had trouble signing deals with content providers and Brian Krzanich, who became Intel’s CEO last May, decided to sell the unit to focus on Intel’s core business.
Prior to Intel, Huggers worked at BBC and was responsible for the company’s online, iPlayer, mobile and Red Button services. He also worked at Microsoft, where he helped launch MSN portals in the Benelux countries. Huggers was born and educated in the Netherlands.