Verizon shoots down Dish reports, could battle AT&T in Web TV

|By:, SA News Editor

"I know there are reports out there that we are talking to Dish (DISH -2.3%). I can tell you now, that is someone's fantasy ... I don't think owning a satellite company is something I'm interested in at this point," says Verizon (VZ +0.1%) CEO Lowell McAdam in response to reports his company has held talks with Dish.

As it is, there was plenty of skepticism Verizon, which just took on more than $60B in debt to help pay for Vodafone's Verizon Wireless stake, would turn its sights on Dish in response to AT&T's (T -0.8%) deal to acquire DirecTV.

McAdam states Verizon's current focus is on rolling out OTT (Web-based) programming. The company bought out Intel's would-be Web TV unit in January, and has since said it's in talks with content providers to offer a Web/mobile TV service.

If/when Verizon's service launches, it'll likely face competition from Dish, which plans to launch a Web TV service aimed at cord-cutters by year's end. It might also compete against AT&T,  which hopes to launch a Web TV offering within 12-18 months of the DirecTV deal's closing.

For each company, signing up content providers terrified of upsetting traditional pay-TV clients (and thus putting affiliate fees at risk) remains a challenge. Dish, for its part, has managed to get Disney/ESPN on board.