Verizon is, you might say, not well-known for being a great content company. It has tried a number of times over the years to build an original content arm, whether through Yahoo or go90 or HuffPost or any of a number of others, and has never found anything even resembling a big hit. But there's one thing Verizon is very, very good at: being a service that hundreds of millions people subscribe to, for internet or TV or both, and being a bill those people pay every month.
So for its next foray into the streaming business, Verizon is leaning into what it does best. Its new service, +play, is not a service full of original content but rather a way to manage other services, including Disney+, Peloton, Netflix, Calm and more, all of which are available to Verizon customers and paid for and managed through a Verizon account. The platform will launch this month to a small group, and expand over time.
+play is really a continuation of what Verizon and other carriers have been doing over the last couple of years, offering months of free Apple Music or Peacock to subscribers in hopes of getting more users onto the services. And the subscription hub is an idea that a number of tech companies have pursued, too: Apple and Amazon both allow users to subscribe to certain cable networks through their existing accounts, for instance.
These projects share a single goal: to be the main account through which users access the internet. People frequently complain about having too many usernames and passwords, as well as too many bills to pay every month. Plenty of companies want to solve that problem with these "everything bundles," and in doing so become the portal to the web — and payment engine — for millions of users. And as the metaverse becomes more real, the opportunity to be the default login becomes more important. Whether it's the "Sign in with …" products from Google and Meta, or subscription bundles like Apple One and Microsoft 365 and now +play, tech companies large and small are trying to bundle more and more of your online life into their platform. But if there's one account users aren't going to drop, it's their cell and internet provider. And Verizon knows it.