Erik Huggers exiting Verizon

Erik Huggers, the former chief of Intel’s OTT TV initiative, is to leave Verizon five months after the US telco acquired the OnCue platform from the chipset giant.

Erik HuggersHuggers, who worked on the Intel project for two years, told Reuters at the end of last week that he is to quit Verizon, a move seen as a sign that the telco is losing interest in launching an internet-delivered TV service.

Intel sold its Intel Media division to Verizon in January, with most of the 350 staff involved in the project moving to the new owners. Verizon chairman and CEO Lowell McAdam said at the time that the OnCue platform would help it “bring next-generation video services to audiences who increasingly expect to view content when, where and how they want it”. Verizon also said it expected to integrate IP-based web TV services with its existing hybrid FiOS TV service.

Following Huggers’ announcement of his departure, Verizon said that it still intended to use the OnCue technology and staff going forwards to grow its business.

Verizon has recently been focusing on the rollout of a higher-tier DVR offering as part of its FiOS TV service. Last it rolled out FiOS Quantum TV, which allows viewers to record up to 12 shows at once and pause or rewind on any TV in the home, in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.

Rival operators are meanwhile pushing ahead with their own OTT initiatives. AT&T in April teamed up with Peter Chernin Group, with the pair committing to invest US$500 million in OTT services.

Huggers is best known in TV circles for his time at the helm of the BBC’s Future Media and Technology division, where he worked before joining Intel in 2011. Though he cut a divisive figure at the UK pubcaster, he is credited with championing ground-breaking services such as the iPlayer and Project Canvas, which eventually became connected-TV platform YouView.

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