As if Netflix's year hasn't been tough enough. The streaming movie company may soon face a new rival in the form of a Verizon online video service, Reuters reports. The service would be available to 85 million households outside Verizon's current FIOS broadband and cable markets, and could be ready as soon as next year, insiders say. It may not, however, offer the kind of variety Netflix does: Instead, it could present movie packages along the lines of Starz Play or children's shows from a partner such as Disney.
Verizon has been discussing the idea for the past two years with programmers, who are worried about damaging partnerships with the cable companies the new service would threaten. Cable firms are concerned about customers fleeing for cheaper web-based services. Verizon's plan would likely be priced similarly to Netflix. The news follows word of a planned Verizon deal with Time-Warner and Comcast that could further alter the landscape of the industry. (Read more Verizon stories.)