Simply put, FiOS TV uses fiber-optic technology to deliver all kinds of entertainment and informational programming via broadband to a subscriber's home. Verizon plans on having everything available that would make such a medium popular: digital channels, high-definition programming, video on demand... the usual suspects. These offerings were highlighted when Verizon announced a deal with General Electric's
Any new platform is only as strong as the content it possesses. Think of a dinner table. Does it matter whether the table was built with the best wood and crafted by the finest hands in all the land if the dishes of food sitting atop it taste horrible? Verizon is going to make sure it has what the collective eyeballs of the land desire. The agreement covers NBC Universal properties such as the SciFi Channel, USA, Telemundo, Bravo, CNBC, and MSNBC, as well as retransmission rights for owned-and-operated broadcast stations. FiOS TV absolutely needs a valuable collection of diverse brands like this. (It's great to be a GE shareholder, let me tell you.) Verizon also recently made a pact with the people over at Starz Entertainment Group; you can bet more deals will be sealed as time goes on.
General Electric is wise to stake a claim to this new turf. My analogy about the dinner table still applies, but it shouldn't be taken too literally, since GE knows that it needs FiOS TV just as much as FiOS TV needs GE; it's just obligatory symbiosis. The successful colonization of all future mediums ensures future growth in the value of NBC Universal's expansive portfolio -- as well as further amortization of costs related to that portfolio.
Verizon is trading at a yield of approximately 4.7% as I write this, so investors who believe that the company has a nice future ahead of it would be locking in a nice yield right now. I am more in favor of General Electric as a long-term investment vehicle because of its undeniable diversity and what I believe to be a preferable dividend history. (According to Verizon's shareholder site, that company's payout remained at an annual rate of $1.54 per share over the past several years, although the company did recently increase the quarterly dividend 5.2% in its latest declaration, on March 4.)
Additional articles relating to Verizon and General Electric:
- Verizon Gets Naked
- Verizon's Qwest in Peril?
- Verizon's Lesson for Investors
- GE's Spring Cleaning
- Stock Madness 2005: GE vs. CryptoLogic