RealTime IT News

Looney Tunes on Verizon TV

Verizon has signed a programming and distribution agreement with Turner Broadcasting System as it prepares to ratchet up pressure on its cable and satellite competitors.

The deal will make CNN, Cartoon Network, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies available through the Baby Bell's fiber-to-the-home service.

"Our customers will enjoy the quality programming from Turner Broadcasting that appeals to so many different types of viewers and continues to sustain top-of-the-charts ratings," Terry Denson, vice president of video programming and content marketing, said in a statement.

Denson, a former executive at Insight Communications, MTV Networks and ABS, was hired by Verizon in September to negotiate deals like this one.

Verizon apparently didn't have a problem negotiating with Time Warner, TBS's corporate parent, which also owns Time Warner Cable.

Verizon expects its TV-over-fiber initiative, dubbed Fios TV, will eventually carry hundreds of digital channels, high- definition programming, video-on-demand and interactive programming guide.

The New York-based carrier is constructing its fiber networks -- which will also carry voice and high-speed data services -- in half the states where it offers landline communications.

In May, Verizon and SBC suffered a setback when Texas lawmakers adjourned without passing a bill designed to accelerate TV- over-fiber rollouts.

The measure would have allowed the Baby Bells to petition the public utilities commission for a statewide video franchise license rather than negotiate deals with each community, a process that can take between six and 18 months.

Verizon and SBC are now focusing their efforts on federal legislation.