Select Verizon FiOS subscribers have access to Verizon’s newest competitive weapon – the interactive media guide (IMG). We first reported on the new IMG back in May 07. The IMG to the average subscriber is a fancy program guide. To Verizon, it’s a key differentiator over cable and satellite. Verizon says interactivity is the key. So instead of just providing info on upcoming linear, HD, and VOD programming, the FiOS IMG allows subscribers to program their DVR and download photos and music off their PCs for display on the TV. Verizon says upgrades in the IMG pipeline will soon allow subscribers to also download video games, Internet video, and podcasts, and control the IMG remotely through mobile phones. “The interactive media guide erases the lines between TV, Internet and personal media and makes it easy for customers to personalize and enjoy media throughout their homes,” says Shawn Strickland, Verizon vice president of video solutions.
It’s too early to predict if consumers will see the Verizon FiOS IMG as a compelling enough feature to influence their buying decisions. Recent history does suggest that program guides can impact consumer adoption. Interactive program guides have been used quite successfully (in conjunction with other features) to lure analog cable customers to move to digital packages, where information about programming is vastly improved. Verizon is hoping to repeat that success, with their own internally developed interactive program guide experience.