Streaming content on mobile devices has been a huge trend in the market in recent years. We have seen the likes of Facebook introduce video ads in its platform, or even Google introduce them on YouTube. Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE: VZ) is now getting in the game with its most recent deal.
The company announced a multiyear content licensing agreement with Scripps Networks Interactive Inc. (NYSE: SNI), which is one of the world’s leading developers of lifestyle video content. This is in conjunction with Verizon’s mobile first video offering.
This agreement includes content from popular brands within the network. Some of these are Food Network, HGTV, Travel Channel, DIY Network and Cooking Channel. There will also be over 45 series available for streaming as well. These all will be available to Verizon Wireless customers later in 2015.
This is a natural progression for Verizon as mobile consumption of data continues to increase. In fact the consumption of original digital video by U.S. millennials (18 to 24 years old) increased 21% in 2014, according to a study by NScreen Media. At the same time, smartphone viewing increased 10% from 2014 to 2015 in a study by the Interactive Advertising Bureau.
Henry Ahn, executive vice president of content distribution at Scripps, commented on the agreement:
As mobile consumption continues to increase, it’s important that we provide audiences with the opportunity to enjoy the series and videos they love across the fullest possible range of devices. Great content will always connect with audiences, and this agreement with Verizon provides new and existing viewers with another way to engage with our powerful lifestyle brands.
So far Verizon is up in 2015. Shares have increased 3.4% to their current levels. However, over the past 52 weeks, this is less pronounced and shares have remained relatively flat.
A couple of analysts weighed in on Verizon recently:
- Citigroup reiterated a Neutral rating with a $51 price target.
- JPMorgan downgraded Verizon to a Neutral rating with a $55 price target.
Shares of Verizon were up 1.1% at $47.79 on Thursday morning. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $51.63 and a 52-week trading range of $45.09 to $53.66.
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